Books: July 2017 | AIChE

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Books: July 2017


Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies

Geoffrey West, Penguin, New York, NY, $30, 496 pages, May 2017, ISBN: 978-1-594-20558-3


The author, physicist Geoffrey West, is a pioneer in the field of complexity science — the science of emergent systems and networks. His research reveals the underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, cities, and businesses.

He applied his background in physics to the biological mystery behind lifespan. His findings changed science, determining that despite the riotous diversity in mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. He states that if you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day and what its heart rate is to how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and more. He has proven that the uniting principle is the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from an organism’s...

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