The universe contains “many evolving systems, and we seem to have no laws of nature that fully describe the reasons for their existence.” A new study says scientists have discovered a “missing law” of nature that could explain the evolution of evolving systems in the universe, including stars, chemicals and life. The “Law of Increasing Functional Information” predicts that all evolving phenomena are subject to natural processes that prioritize important functions such as stability and novelty, allowing systems to evolve. develop in increasing order and complexity.
This unique approach could help explain why different cosmic processes evolve over time, from stars richer in chemicals than their predecessors to more complex life forms on Earth biologically compared to their ancestors. Our universe is still a mystery to us, but scientists have been able to make some important observations about its properties. For example, Isaac Newton’s laws of motion describe the interaction between objects and physical forces, and the laws of thermodynamics reveal the behavior of temperature, energy, entropy, and other physical quantities according to time.
Additionally, the foundation of modern life sciences is the theory of evolution created by Charles Darwin, which introduced concepts such as natural selection. Now, scientists led by Michael Wong, an astrobiologist and planetary scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, have proposed a new law of nature that attempts to explain the evolution of systems using a complex dimension called information function.
The researchers developed “a potential ‘missing law’ in the search for equivalence between evolving systems” and “proposed that all evolving systems, including but not limited to life, are composed of many different components that can be combined into configurations and then selected. for or against them depends on their function,” said the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We see a lot of richness and complexity in the universe, a lot of systems evolving, but we don’t seem to have any laws of nature that fully describe why,” Wong told Motherboard. Why do these systems exist?
He added: “This work and the reason I’m so proud of it is because it really demonstrates the connection between science and the philosophy of science, perhaps giving a new perspective on why we We see what we see in the Universe.” . The new study grew out of informal conversations between Wong and lead author Robert Hazen, a mineralogist and astrobiologist at Carnegie and a leading authority on mineral evolution.
For many years, the two have often speculated about the possibility that there is a “missing law” of nature that could explain the emergence of surprising new configurations in many natural systems, such as organisms. object. living organisms or recombination of minerals. Wong and Hazen brought together experts from a variety of scientific and philosophical backgrounds to answer this question by looking for common characteristics of natural systems that develop over time. The team identified three key characteristics of these systems: static sustainability, dynamic sustainability, and innovation generation.
Static stability suggests that evolving systems must, by definition, be stable enough to undergo evolutionary changes over long periods of time. Dynamic stability is the ability to create many different permutations, whether genetic mutations determine biological evolution or different properties appear in different minerals. Novel generation is a selection pressure that favors systems capable of inventing completely new functions.
“Currently, nature’s only time asymmetry law is the second law of thermodynamics, which simply describes how closed systems evolve toward equilibrium toward ever-higher entropy more,” Wong explains. “I think this law alone cannot fully explain the richness and complexity we see in the Universe and in our everyday lives.” “What we are proposing does not contradict this law of thermodynamics,” he added. “The law we propose works in harmony with all the other laws of nature we have formulated so far and adds something new to them.”
The team hopes the new study will spark discussions across a variety of sectors about the possibility of new global laws governing evolving systems. Although the researchers are primarily interested in stellar systems, minerals and biology, they suggest that similar evolutionary patterns may exist in many different unexpected settings in our universe. . “For us, evolution is not limited to biological evolution, which of course is a great example, but we can observe evolution in many physical and chemical systems different,” Wong said.