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Home > Press > Lyceum Society: Science Turns to a Morphological Analysis

Abstract:
The Lyceum Society is comprised of the Academy's retired and semi-retired members, but any Academy member is welcome. Talks cover various scientific fields.

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Lyceum Society: Science Turns to a Morphological Analysis

New York, NY | Posted on February 4th, 2009

The scientific paradigm has been moving away from quantitative methodologies to explain the new sciences, such as genomics (the study of genes and their function), proteomics (the study of proteins, the complete set produced by a species, using the technologies of large-scale protein separation and identification), nanotechnology (the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale), and neuroscience.

The scientist who devoted his career to the subject of morphology (the study of form and structure) is Lancelot Law Whyte, Scottish physicist, historian, and philosopher of science (1896-1972).

Whyte maintained throughout his long career that there are two basic, fundamental, universal forces. The second of which received scant recognition by orthodox science. The first is entropy, the development of disorder in closed systems, which has been studied for hundreds of years. The second is a creative or "morphic" force that he hypothesized to be a universal formative process evident in evolution and in reality, in all the 3-dimensional forms and others that have emerged through time.

Whyte posited the morphic force as a formative principle: The tendency for asymmetry to decrease, leading to the development of symmetrical forms. He predicted that the scientific paradigm would move away from quantitative methodologies (as in physics) to more concern for form. His insights help us with the new sciences of genomics, proteomics, nanotechnology display and neuroscience.

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