in doing some reading for my cracking paint project, i’ve discovered the most exciting theory in my current codex of the moment: fontana’s dictionary of modern thought
1. In thermodynamics: a quantity forming part of the specification of the thermal state of a system. Entropy may be calculated from the heat which must be added to the system to bring it via intermediate states to the state being considered. It is found that the entropy of any closed system never decreases. This is one formulation of the second law of thermodynamics, which can be explained by statistical mechanics, where entropy is interpreted as a measure of the disorder among the atoms making up the system, since an initially ordered state is virtually certain to randomize as time proceeds.
2. in cybernetics: entropy is generalized to measure the tendency of any closed system to move from a les to a more probable state, using the same mathematical apparatus as in above. If, however, the system is open to information, then this tendency may be arrested. This is because, mathematically speaking, information can be defined precisely as negative entropy (negentropy)
The thermodynamics of systems that are no at equilibrium. processes that are irreversible evolve towards an equilibrium state that has a greater entropy than the initial state; when equilibrium is reached, the rate of entropy production is zero. If a system is constantly supplied with matter or energy, it can be maintained in a non-equilibrium state in which entropy is continually generated. It was thought by the originators of thermodynamic theory that non-equilibrium states would be disorderly, but observations show that they can find highly ordered structures, such as the hexagonal pattern of convection cells first seen by Henri Bénard in 1900. Other examples of ordered non-equilibrium states include the chemical patterns predicted by Alan Turing in 1952. These ordered non-equilibrium states are called dissipative structures, since they must dissipate energy in order to persist. Their existence is counter-intuitive, because the generation of entropy would be expected to engender disorder in the system. As most natural processes, such as the functioning of cells and the circulation of the atmosphere and oceans, operate away from equilibrium, the importance of understanding non-equilibrium structures is clear.
and i dropped out of a science degree all those years ago!! maybe i should go back and wade through physics lectures with dr carl again!