Hermann Haken: From the Laser to Synergetics: A Scientific Biography of the Early Years

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At it end faces the glass tube carries mirrors, one of them semi-transparent. The atoms molecules are energetically continuous excited by an electric current that serves as control parameter. Below a critical value of the electric current, the device acts as a lamp. The atoms molecules emit randomly incoherent light wave tracks which are amplified by stimulated emission.

The light field amplitudes are Gaussian distributed. Above a critical value of the electric currents the laser threshold the properties of light change qualitatively and dramatically. Laser light consists of a single wave with a stable amplitude on which small amplitude fluctuations and a slow phase diffusion are superimposed. The transition from the irregular light from a lamp to the highly ordered light from a laser shows the emergence of a new quality namely coherent light.

The emergent laser light wave is called the order parameter. Once established, it governs the emission acts of the individual atoms molecules termed enslavement. Since the joint action of the subsystems atoms, molecules generates the order parameter the laser light wave , while the latter enslaves the individual parts atoms, molecules , we may speak of circular causality. We add for the expert that in the transition region the typical phenomena of a phase transition occur symmetry breaking , critical slowing down , critical fluctuations that were predicted and measured in great detail.

In the laser phase transition a new temporal structure is formed by self-organization , i. When this control parameter is further increased ultra short pulses may occur. Generally, an instability hierarchy may occur. This is, at least in general, characterized by the occurrence of an increasing number of order parameters. Under specific conditions including high losses due to the mirrors laser light may show deterministic chaos see also below.

The laser is an open system with an energy input the electric current and energy output which besides the wanted laser light comprises incoherent losses heat. The just described behaviour of the laser device is typical for large classes of self-organizing systems, in which the behaviour of many parts degrees of freedom is governed by few order parameters degrees of freedom. The virtue of the laser example rests upon the fact that the laser properties can be derived from first principles: quantum theory, quantum electrodynamics , coupling to heatbaths.

A typical example of this kind of self-organization was given in a talk of the famous Cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster, given many years ago at a conference on marketing in Vienna. While this problem can be solved analytically, still more complicated assignment tasks, e. An experimental access to an approximate solution may be possible by multi-agents systems Kernbach Some systems may show self-organization of the first or second kind depending on boundary conditions, initial conditions, parameter values etc.

The theoretical treatment of self-organization is based both on microscopic, as well as macroscopic phenomenological approaches. Of particular interest is the question, whether there are general principles of self-organization, irrespective of the nature of the individual parts of the system. In synergetics Haken such principles could be found, at least for self-organization of the first kind, as outlined above. They are based on general concepts, such as order parameters and the slaving principle for details see article on synergetics.


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The main issue is the reduction of complexity. In large classes of systems their dynamics can be described by few order parameters.

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This serves also as a basis for the application of catastrophe theory R. Thom with a fully deterministic approach; for stochastic models see L. Cobb , as well as of chaos theory because both theories are based on the use of few variables. The mathematical theory of synergetics provides an algorithm by which the order parameters and their low dimensional equations can be derived, provided the basic microscopic equations are known, and it allows one to formulate model equations in terms of order parameters if the basic equations are unknown.

While the principles unearthed by synergetics which comes close to the spirit of dynamic systems theory are of a rather abstract nature, another line of thought stresses the interpretation of the mechanisms or principles underlying self-organization. They can be traced back to cybernetics with its concepts of positive and negative feedback.

According to Erdi see also Erdi behind many if not all self-organizing phenomena there is a balance between positive and negative feedback, or as H. A few examples, suggested by these authors, may suffice here:. In chemical kinetics self-organized patterns occur due to interaction of autocatalytic i. The well-known BZ reactions are the paradigm. Turing structures are spatial structures, spiral waves Winfree are spatiotemporal patterns. Somitogenesis , a segmentation process, which produces a periodic pattern along the head-tail axis are somewhat analogues to Turing structures, while spiral waves occur also in cardiac muscles.

Population dynamics , ecological systems: connectivity, stability, diversity, resilience, resistance. Model studies show that weak connections enhance stability, and they McCann et al.

Hermann Haken

Epidemics is characterized by the rapid increase of the size of infected population due to consequence of the interaction between infected and susceptible individuals. Infected can converted to a removed pool spontaneously or by external control. War dynamics. Lanchester derived and analyzed a model of classical warfare. The laser is such a synergetic process: a beam of coherent light is created out of the chaotic movement of particles. What happens is that energy pushes the system of particles beyond a threshold, and suddenly the particles start behaving harmoniously..

Synergetics revolves around a number of technical concepts: compression of the degrees of freedom of a complex system into dynamic patterns that can be expressed as a collective variable; behavioral attractors of changing stabilities; and the appearance of new forms as non-equilibrium phase transitions. Systems at instability points at the "threshold" are driven by a "slaving principle": long-lasting quantities the macroscopic pattern can enslave short-lasting quantities the chaotic particles , and they can force order on them thereby becoming "order parameters". The system exhibits both a stable "mode", which is the chaotic motion of its particles, and an unstable "mode", which is the macroscopic structure and behavior of the whole system.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Synergetics. Subfields of and cyberneticians involved in cybernetics. Polycontexturality Second-order cybernetics Catastrophe theory Connectionism Control theory Decision theory Engineering cybernetics Information theory Semiotics Synergetics Biological cybernetics Biosemiotics Biomedical cybernetics Biorobotics Computational neuroscience Homeostasis Management cybernetics Medical cybernetics Neurocybernetics Sociocybernetics Emergence Artificial intelligence.

Categories : Holism Cybernetics Thermodynamics. Revision History. Claude Bernard. Related Images. YouTube Videos. Diwakar Vaish, an inventor of a brain-controlled wheelchair, during a press ceremony. Monkey operating a robotic arm with brain—computer interfacing Schwartz lab, University of Pittsburgh.

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These properties or behaviors emerge only when the parts interact in a wider whole. The formation of complex symmetrical and fractal patterns in snowflake s exemplifies emergence in a physical system. A termite "cathedral" mound produced by a termite colony offers a classic example of emergence in nature.

Ripple patterns in a sand dune created by wind or water is an example of an emergent structure in nature. Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland is an example of a complex emergent structure. In computer science, artificial intelligence, sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals.

Members of the German Academy of Sciences at Be...

A self-driving car system may use a neural network to determine which parts of the picture seem to match previous training images of pedestrians, and then model those areas as slow-moving but somewhat unpredictable rectangular prisms that must be avoided. A patient-side surgical arm of Da Vinci Surgical System. X-ray of a hand, with automatic calculation of bone age by computer software. Semiotics is the study of sign process. It includes the study of signs and sign processes, indication, designation, likeness, analogy, allegory, metonymy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication.

Color-coding hot- and cold-water faucets taps is common in many cultures but, as this example shows, the coding may be rendered meaningless because of context. The two faucets taps probably were sold as a coded set, but the code is unusable and ignored , as there is a single water supply. Signaling and communication between the Astatotilapia burtoni. Chart semiotics of social networking.

Self-organization - Scholarpedia

Manfred Clynes is a scientist, inventor, and musician. He is best known for his innovations and discoveries in the interpretation of music, and for his contributions to the study of biological systems and neurophysiology. Self-organization, also called spontaneous order, is a process where some form of overall order arises from local interactions between parts of an initially disordered system.

The process is spontaneous, not needing control by any external agent. Initially amorphous cubes gradually transform into ordered 3D meshes of crystalline nanowire s as summarized in the model below. Birds flocking , an example of self-organization in biology. Norbert Wiener defined cybernetics in as "the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine. An artificial heart , a product of biomedical engineering. Control theory in control systems engineering is a subfield of mathematics that deals with the control of continuously operating dynamical systems in engineered processes and machines.

Example of a single industrial control loop; showing continuously modulated control of process flow. He coined the term fight or flight response, and he expanded on Claude Bernard's concept of homeostasis. Tiger bush is a vegetation pattern that forms in arid conditions. Hermann Haken is physicist and professor emeritus in theoretical physics at the University of Stuttgart. He is known as the founder of synergetics.


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  4. He is a cousin of the mathematician Wolfgang Haken, who proved the Four color theorem. The term phase transition is most commonly used to describe transitions between solid, liquid, and gaseous states of matter, as well as plasma in rare cases. A phase of a thermodynamic system and the states of matter have uniform physical properties.

    A small piece of rapidly melting solid argon simultaneously shows the transitions from solid to liquid and liquid to gas. The set of all states of a system is known as the system's phase space, and degrees of freedom of the system, are the dimensions of the phase space.