Why Does A River Look Like A Tree?

This quick video comes from Adrian Bejan, the J. A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University. He is something of a scientific renegade who uses thermodynamics theory to combine the fields of engineering, biology, and design.

Growing up in Communist Romania, Adrian has seen first hand how systems that don't go with the flow of our ever changing world can lead to failure. As a pattern driven individual, Adrian's observations of the natural world, from lungs to trees has led him to ask simple questions from a unique perspective. The results are something he has dubbed the Constructal Law.

Defecting from Romania to study at MIT put Adrian at odds in his home country, where he was labeled a traitor. At times his research has put him at similar odds with the scientific community. As an engineer, he is criticized as too theoretical. As a physicist, he is well...an engineer. The biologists aren't quite sure what to do with a theory that predicts the shape and structure of nature, nor are the social scientists who grapple with some of the most complex systems imagined. To Adrian, this is familiar territory. Bridging isolated fields of thought can be lonely work, but it certainly is an area where we need more investigation. It is also a field wide open for study.

In fact, freedom is a central pillar of constructal theory. When Adrian says, "Freedom is good for design," he doesn't just mean individual freedom, but freedom in the ability to evolve and change to create better systems; systems that fit in with their surroundings, and survive the test of time. Why a river looks like a tree seems like a simple question, but it may just be at the heart of what it means to be free.

via :: Duke University