How Did Life Originate? The Role of Cell Waves and their Negative Entropy


What is Human Life?


Alternative  Post-Modern Views on Ancient Questions





Part A:   Origin of Life

About seventy years ago Irwin  Schrodinger proposed that life originated when negative entropy or ‘negentropy’  permitted the necessary complex physical order of life  to emerge. The lack of any physical mechanism to produce the supposed favorable entropy occurrences  however, led to eventual  neglect of his proposal.


It is proposed ,however, that  a feasible physical process with the required entropy change characteristics does exist in stress- strain  waves which occur in  solid or semi-solid materials.  Therefore, since the cytoplasm of the cell is a semi-solid to solid material,  then  stress – strain  waves will occur  in the cell and will furnish and maintain  a favorable entropy environment allowing the complex  bio-molecules and the orderly systems of  life to emerge, as Schrodinger proposed. This biological wave proposal is readily testable in the laborstory. 


Part B:   Human Life (In Preparation)






Part A:   How Did Life Originate ? The Role of Cell Waves and their Negative Entropy


Part B:   What is Human Life?   (In Preparation)





After food, drink and shelter, the most important need of every one is surely some personal, satisfying  answer to the questions of  Who am I? What am I?  Where am I going?  What is the meaning of my existence?  How should I live, and Why?  How do I fit into the  world  around me? What is reality? How do I know what is true?  The answers to these questions shape the direction and quality  of each individual life. In sum, they may frame a civilization.


Today, there appear to be two main classes of belief about these question in the western world: Many, perhaps still a  majority,  follow some variant of the classical view  and believe that we humans are essentially intelligent or spiritual creatures. From Aristotle’s great  definition of  ‘Man  the Rational Animal’, to the refined mediaeval synthesis of Aquinas and the Schoolmen,  to the many splendid critiques  of modern times,  this view has produced the civilized west, including the origins and  development of its physical science. Parallel beliefs have founded the other great world civilizations.


Recently,  many in post- modern science have abandoned  classical and mediaeval roots, and, instead, now assert a  materialist, neo-Darwinian,  naturalism, which is uncritically assumed by many to constitute a viable,  general view.


The American philosopher, Thomas Nagel, in his Mind and Cosmos, (Oxford U. Press, 2012) [1] presents a critical counter view that this physical,  neo-Darwinian conception of nature, including man and his consciousness,  is almost certainly false. As an atheist philosopher, he looks forward to the emergence of  some   purely  naturalistic, but non- material  factor,  to resolve both the origin of life and ma’s consciousness.


We shall  in Part A present the argument for a  physical factor to explain  the origin of life,   but, in Part B, we examine the classical view for an immaterial, spiritual factor for the man’s intellect  and  his consciousness,.



Part A


 How Did Life Originate?


The Role of Orderly Cell Waves and their Negative Entropy



1  Some Current Theories


The current scientific answer to the question of how life originated on earth is most commonly a naturalistic, physical, neo- Darwinian, evolutionary reductionism.  Physical matter acting  through well understood probabilistic interaction laws  gradually produces physical complexity.  First, in what is called the chemical evolution, the  atoms form the bio-molecules of life, the amino acids. Then the amino acids gradually assemble to form the proteins, or building blocks  of life. The genetic molecules RNA and DNA follow.  Lipid, spherical  proto-cells  emerge to enclose these bio-molecules.. The process is  physical, naturalistic, random  and very slow. The emergence of the  order and complexity of  the living cell is seen as a  continuation of emerging probabilistic physical complexity,  taking place probably in a quiet, ‘warm pond’  environment. [1,2,3].


Historically, a major obstacle to full acceptance of this  model  has been  a thermodynamic one involving entropy. Non-living processes obey  the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and so, physical changes are always accompanied by an increase in entropy, -- that is to say,  changes in entropy in any non-living physical  process are always net positive and lead to an increase in the amount of uniform randomness.  This opposes the emergence of complexity and order.  With living things, however, it quite obviously works in the reverse -- they  produce locally an  increase in order and complexity, which means there has locally been  a decrease in entrop. [4].   How can this local entropy decrease be physically explained?  Or brought about in the laboratory?


The negative entropy concept was proposed by Schrodinger on theoretically  speculative grounds and he offered no physical mechanism.  Quite naturally an intricate and lengthy thermodynamic controversy has followed.


Some have dismissed this negative entropy change as being a problem at all, by arguing that, while the entropy does decrease within  the restricted living organism, still, the overall entropy, including that in  the organism’s environment, always experiences a net increase as required  by established 2nd law thermodynamic  theory. This has led  to the term dissipative systems  in which living organisms are seen  as overall entropy producers with one  of their requirements being the ability to dissipate  the entropy produced.  To many, however, this is still not really satisfactory, as it  leaves unresolved  the matter of the  undoubted local reduction of entropy within the living, developing organism. 


Here are  some additional current  facts and theory:


.1. Life emerges from the inorganic physical world, first by the gradual,  probabilistic  chemical evolution  of the necessary organic constituents of life, the  amino acids, complex bio-molecules,  DNA/RNA. and proteins. Much of this chemical evolution proposition has been experimentally supported by the results of the Miller/Urey type laboratory experiments [5] and by Fox [5a] with his work on peptides.


2. Later, a protocell consisting of  a  cytoplasm, enclosed by a lipid cell  membrane, emerged by the same probabilistic process.  The attempt to duplicate this protocell step in the laboratory, however, is still  currently a work in progress.


3.The first single-celled organisms  emerged about 3.5 -4 billion years ago.  This is confirmed by the fossil record.. Simple multi-cell  organisms emerged about 3 billion years ago.


4. About 500 million years ago, a great proliferation of multi-cellular animal  life emerged at the time of the so called Cambrian Explosion  At that time, within a spell of  only 25 million years or so, all the major ancestral forms  for modern animal life emerged. This is well  based on the vast fossil record, but an explanation for the quite sudden emergence and relatively brief duration of the proliferation of these complex living things is still a matter for debate.


5. Since then, neo-Darwinian evolution has produced the immense variety of our modern living plants and animals. This is supported by the fossil record and other evidence.


The above theoretical structure for the origin of life, while very incomplete, is supported by the preponderance of the available  evidence. 


Two present day active research approaches are  (1) the ‘genetic  approach’ in which the evolution of genetic processes and RNA/DNA  is proposed to have happened first, and (2)  the ‘metabolic’ approach according to which the proteins emerged first.


Another research approach is the Clay Hypothesis, which involves a catalysis furnished by certain  clay minerals.   It  has been shown to increase the rate of production of some biochemical  species  100-fold.


Major  unsolved problems  are  (1) a reason for the local  entropy decrease with life in general, (2) the reason for the long delay between the first single-celled organism and  multi-cellular life,   and (3) the  lack of laboratory replication  of a  living cell.




2.  A New Solution:  Negative Entropy Flow Produced by Stress Waves in Cell Cytoplasm 


A proposal that would produce the required local entropy  decrease in the cell is  that  stress-strain waves  occur in the cell cytoplasm, and   their  favourable neutral or negative entropy  change characteristics  encourage and sustain the  complex order needed for life.  


This would supply the original Schrodinger negative entropy proposal [4] with the  physical process needed  to  ground it as a probable mechanism in the emergence of life.


This wave proposal is also  open to experimental testing. If experimentally  verified, such a physical, cytoplasm wave process would overcome a major flaw in the present purely probabilistic  theories.


Stress-strain waves do not occur in gases or liquids. Therefore, our proposal requires that the cell cytoplasm have a solid, or at least a semi- solid, nature.  This is in fact the case, which is rather remarkable since the cytoplasm is about 80% water. However, the cytoplasm has many dissolved  substances,  and solid inclusions called organelles,  and, when probed experimentally it is found, in fact, to behave  variously as a gel, a visco-elastic solid, a glass- like solid, and so on.  Thus, the cytoplasm does  behave as a stress-strain medium and can support  stress-strain waves.   This cytoplasmic wave support accounts, for example, for the successful  ultrasonic acoustic medical imaging of living tissues.  


O course, the living cell is a very complex entity, and  enormous amount is know about it.  Here, we are simply going to look at the one  physical factor of  negative entropy --  already studied for generations  -- but now based on a physical source of entropy changes, namely  cellular wave action; this proposal with its physically based negative  entropy change opens up  a pathway for the orderly emergence of the complexity and biological order  at the single cell level, and so is a key factor in the problem of the origin of life.  The details of how this proposed favorable factor of cell wave action  night act in the emergence of the  other extraordinary complexities of living cell life is then a matter for cell biologists.



3.    Cytoplasm Wave Types and Negative Entropy Change   


Waves can occur in gases, liquids and in solids. In gases and liquids [6,7,8,9,10] these waves tend to be longitudinal compression waves, which are generally unstable, and which then  grow to become shock waves. A stable exception is with the very low amplitude compressions, called sound waves or acoustic waves.


Currently,  the cell cytoplasm is seen  as being  a gel-like material having sometimes the characteristics  of a liquid crystal and sometime as behaving as  a semi- solid or even as a glass- like solid. For another example, it is found to act as a solid when probed by force spectrum microscope.


Solid-like materials  support stress-strain waves . [Kolsky: ‘Stress Waves in Solids’, 11]  and so it is stress-strain waves of various types that will occur in the cytoplasm.


These waves  are no longer  only longitudinal compression waves,  as in liquids and gases,  but they are much more varied. They  can be:


(1) Stable longitudinal compressive waves of both low amplitude  ( i.e. acoustic,  sonic and ultrasonic) and of  large amplitude ;


(2) Stable  rarefaction, expansion or dilatational waves, also of either low or large amplitude;


 (3) Distortional , lateral or transverse waves;


(4) Standing waves; 


(5) Surface stable waves, called Rayleigh waves, can also occur on a  free surface of a solid;


(6)   If the stress is not linearly proportional to the strain, then  the wave motion is more difficult. For example in plastic materials, shock waves can then  occur, of both rarefaction and compression. Hysteresis effects also occur.



This  list is not exhaustive, but it will serve to show the wide variety of possibilities  for orderly wave motions that will  exist in a quasi-solid  cytoplasm,  and, consequently, the possibilities for the  desirable negative or neutral entropy change conditions that these cytoplasm waves  may support.


Wave Equations


A general wave equation, known as the classical wave equation, is as follows: 


2Ψ/∂ x2 =  1/ c22Ψ/∂t2


This  equation describes stable  waves which, in  gases and in most liquids, are  limited to  infinitely low amplitude waves, called acoustic or  sound waves, such as those  in air. In these stable, low amplitude waves, the  motion is adiabatic so that no entropy changes occur. [6,7,8,9,10].


In a solid-like cytoplasm, however, most waves, whether of low or large  amplitude, of compression or of rarefaction  are  stable.[11].  The wave  motion in solids can be either  (1) adiabatic with no entropy change,  or  (2) isothermal with either increase or decrease  in entropy. Thus, in the stress- strain waves in solids, for a majority of the time,  the entropy changes dS will be either (1), zero, i.e. neutral or not opposing  the order of life to emerge or (2)  it will be negative  [ dS = -ve] and so will positively  favor order to emerge. Stress –strain waves in the cytoplasm will therefore  provide the missing physical basis  for Schrodinger’s  negative entropy hypothesis. 


Entropy Changes in These Cytoplasm Stess-Strain Waves  [12,13,14]


Entropy and its changes are  subjects in thermodynamics and physical chemistry  [12,13,14].


Entropy (S) is a thermodynamic entity related to random kinetic energy, i.e. to heat and temperature. It is defined as:   

dS = dQ/T


where dS is  entropy change, dQ is  heat change and T is the absolute temperature.


Entropy can be interpreted as a measure of the randomness of arrangement of a system. Thus an ordered system has lower entropy than a random one. A positive entropy change ( +ΔS)  indicates the system has become more random or chaotic. A negative entropy change process ( −ΔS) is one that is becoming more ordered, more complex, less random.


Living systems are ordered and require negative entropy processes(-ΔS.).  The emergence of new order is opposed by  and existing order is  broken up  by the addition of  random kinetic energy ( such as heat),  i.e. by a positive entropy change  (+ΔS).


In a wave train the local heating and cooling accompanying the  pulsations of compression  and rarefaction are related to entropy changes according to whether the change goes on adiabatically with no external heat flow into or out of  the system,  or isothermally, where the temperature is kept constant, and compensating for the heating and cooling pulsations of the wave train is by external heat flowing in and out..


If the wave  pulsations are so rapid that the expansions and contractions are  faster than the rate of heat diffusion, then the wave is said to be adiabatic and the heating and cooling energy of the wave pulses  comes from the wave medium’s internal energy.  The external heat flow  dQ is then zero and  the entropy change dS becomes  zero. Adiabatic waves  are therefore  neutral with respect to the emergence of order and complexity.


If the wave motion is isothermal, as is especially  the case with low frequency  disturbances, then heat flows into the system upon expansion and out upon compression. The accompanying entropy change is then positive (+ΔS) for expansion cycles and  is negative  (-ΔS) for isothermal compressions. Thus, isothermal compression waves or wave segments with their negative entropy change are  favorable  for the  order and complexity of life to emerge  and  function. 


However, conditions for isothermal waves are less frequent than for adiabatic waves; the latter are the general l rule for cell waves.


The  case for an ideal gas is  simplest and most illustrative. There, the entropy change is related to tempersture and volume change as follow:.


ΔS = SB – SA = Cp lnTB/TA –R ln pB/ pA


 ΔS = SB – SA = Cp lnTB/TA – R ln vA / vB


(a) For an isothermal wave , TA and TB are equal and so the equation reduces to:


ΔS = R ln vB /vA  = R ln pA/ pB



Then  in an isothermal  expansion vB   is greater than vA , and  p is greater than pB so that the entropy change  ΔS  is positive.


Bur, conversely,  for an isothermal  compression,  the entropy change ΔS will be  negative.



(b) For an adiabatic wave:  The vibrations are so fast that all heat flow is from the internal energy of the wave medium .   No heat enters or leaves the system from outside by diffusion and so the net entropy change is zero,  ΔS=0  ( i.e.  the wave changes are  isentropic).


While the above  analysis is for the ideal  gas, the principles  also apply  to waves in solids.  In sum, we see that stress-strain waves in the cytoplasm will be predominately either entropy neutral ( adiabatic waves)  or entropy negative (isothermal compressions).  Clearly cytoplasm waves should be  carefully explored with respect to their providing the required favorable thermodynamic conditions for the emergence of the complex order of life  and  its continuation.


To sum up:


Entropy Changes in Wave Trains


Adiabatic waves  in the cytoplasm will be entropy neutral ( ΔS = 0), since there is no net heat change, i.e.   ΔQ is zero.  .


Also, in the cytoplasm, large amplitude compression waves, if isothermal,   would have  negative entropy changes.

[ΔS = −-ve].


On the other hand, large amplitude rarefaction waves acting isothermally would have positive entropy change [ΔS =  + ve].


In general then, the semi-solid cytoplasm should be on balance a medium of neutral to negative entropy change, and so would be  positively favorable for the emergence and maintenance of life.


We should note here that in the solid-like cytoplasm the adiabatic wave motion with its order- neutral, zero entropy change will probably predominate. The compression mode will certainly also be  common, but the desirable isothermal compression mode is intrinsically less likely to occur. Isothermal waves can readily be set up in the  laboratory, but in nature their special conditions would be much more unlikely to occur. Thus, while the negative entropy of these isothermal compression waves is certain1y desirable for cell order to emerge, the majority of the time it would  seem that the cell prioresses would have to operate on just the entropy neutral environment of the adiabatic waves.   This may be part of the reason for the great time gap between the origin of single celled life and the sudden complexity of the Cambrian Radiation.


Entropy Changes in Individual Wave Pulses


For a single adiabatic wave cycle, the compression half of the complete wave cycle will have negative entropy change while for the rarefaction half cycle the change will bepositive. e. Thus, the effect of an adiabatic wave on  the  emergence of new order  in the cell will  depend on the relative speeds between the orderly structural change and the wave pulse speed ( i.e. the wave pulse frequency).  Rapid atomic  changes, for example, could take  place even with short duration ( high frequency) adiabatic compression waves.  But slow molecular ( longer duration) changes in structure, let us say, would require longer duration ( i.e. lower frequency) adiabatic waves  in order to take advantage of the negative entropy occurring in the compression  half of the adiabatic wave.  


Fir an isothermal wave train and its pulse cycles,  similar careful analysis is required. In general, though, it would seem that isothermal wave conditions in the cell will be rather rare or unusual,  so that isothermal waves in the cell may be of overall much less consequence for orderly structural emergence than the more commonly   occurring adiabatic waves.


For complete treatment of the thermodynamics and  entropy  of gels, semi-solids, glasses, solids etc. see textbooks on physical chemistry e.g. [12,13,14]


Standing Stress Waves in Cytiplasm


If standing adiabatic waves occur in the cell then the entropy positive and entropy negative actions  of the standing wave have durations and stationary conditions as long as the wave persists. Thus the compression  portion of a standing wave could have  long lasting favorable negative entropy and order- producing  conditions.


The possibility of standing waves forming will depend on the cell width  and the stress-wave speed c.  A typical cell width would be of the order of 10-5 m,  while cell tissue wave speeds are around 1500 m/s. Thus, the frequency of the stress  for the width of a single sell would be around  1.5 x 108  cycles per sec. Lower frequency standing eaves would seem to require standing waves extending over assemblages of many cells.



4.0 The Role of Amino Acids in Cytoplasm Structure


The semi-solid to solid behaviour of the cytoplasm, which is 80% water, requires explanation.

Several general physical effects such as  sol gel , glass transitions etc  can be cited to explain the observed behaviour of the cytoplasm. Possibly the cytoplasm  inclusions are also of importance here.


Amino acids are prominent inclusions in the cytoplasm and they will have  strong organizing properties on the water because of their  hydrogen bonding properties [15.16.17]. Therefore, they  may  be central to the remarkable  semi-solid nature of the cytoplasm which  makes possible the existence of cell stress waves and their desirable neutral to negative entropy change property.




5. Further Discussion of The Proposed  Role for  Wave Action  in the Cytoplasm of the Cell  Promoting the  Emergence of Organic Complexity and Life



We are proposing  that the entropy changes in stable  compression/expansion waves of both small and large  amplitude that can occur  in  the semi-solid cytoplasm of the cell are of key importance to the emergence and development of organic life .


We have pointed out that stress-strain waves have some regions of neutral entropy change and some of  negative,  entropy change, and , therefore,  cytoplasm wave environments in the main should be positively encouraging for life to emerge and develop. This proposed mechanism is open to experimental verification.


To repeat the conclusions of Section 2 above  (1) in the cytoplasm all waves that travel adiabatically would be entropy neutral ( ΔS = 0),  (because  their  expansion and dilation temperature changes  ± ΔT  can come from  internal energy and so do not  require heat flow ± ΔQ  into or out of the wave train volume. ).  Since, in this case,  the   heat changes are  zero, then the entropy changes are also zero and the  orderly emergence and  rearrangement of biological molecules that  life requires will not be hindered by   chaotic heat  bombardment that ordinarily prevents any orderly biological emergence  outside the cell.


(2) Waves in the cytoplasm may  also travel isothermally. In gases,  the thermodynamic differences between adiabatic and isothermal motions can be large. But in solids these differences are usually small. With isothermal rarefaction waves the entropy change is positive so that small hindrance to orderly life building processes occurs. With isothermal compression, however, the entropy changes  are  negative  ( ΔS = −ve)  so that a positive drive towards order and complexity  occurs.


In summary then, the  waves in the cytoplasm, on average, either do not interfere strongly with emergence of biological order  or they  positivrely favour and  encourage its emergence. This,  we propose, is a dynamic drive that renders the emergence of life not only possible, but ensures that it does occur.


In our model then, a key to life’s  emergence  is a physical wave process occurring  in a properly structured cytoplasm, rather than just a probabilistic  result of  random  chemical process.


In principle, this cytoplasmic wave  hypothesis can be tested in the laboratory. A lipid/cytoplasm synthesis  experiment ,which includes it being subjected to such waves, should, if the wave entropy process is valid,  produce complex biological chemicals  faster and in greater variety. It may also produce higher order biological complexity. 


We have proposed  theoretically  that the stress-strain waves in the cytoplasm will –in general—be thermodynamically  favorable to the emergence of cell order, structure and complexity. We also point out that the per wave duration of favorable entropy change conditions will be inversely proportion to the wave frequency .  Certain structural assemblage problems will be more facilitated with low frequency and longer duration of favorable entropy conditions. Other assemblage problems, such as those on the  molecular and larger scale, may well, however,  require high frequency, short duration, entropy- negative,  wave pulses.  



6.  Environmental  Forces and  Energy Sources for Initiating Acoustic Waves in  Cells


We have shown that stress- strain waves ( i.e. stable, finite amplitude, compression/dilation  waves)  can exist in the cytoplasm of the cell and should aid the emergence of order  and complexity.. But, waves require some stimulation or perturbation to  start  them  off and sustain them.  


Such  perturbations can arise  from the cell colliding with its physical environment, presumably in water. Other  obvious suggestions are:   The noise and vibration of running water in and the roar and rumble of waves breaking on a shore line are  major likely perturbation sources.  Cells existing in coastal  salt water ponds or pools would be subjected to almost continual vibrations from these sources.  Cells which exist in mats or surface colonies in water are subjected to continual jostling by wind generated waves, especially on windward shorelines. Other forces exist in the flows  of hot  springs both on the earth’s  surface and beneath the sea . Breaking  forms and bubbles also emit pulse forces.


Another source of wave pulses lies in the explosive-like rupture forces of the cell’s molecular water bonds,  which must break to allow molecular rearrangements in all kinds  of chemical and physical processes. The classical isothermal theory of the tensile strength of liquids and solids was long an anomaly since  the actual homogeneous ruptures forces, especially in water, were  orders of magnitude  less than the isothermal rupture theory predicted. In 2008 Power proposed that the rupture process, at least in water,  was in fact adiabatic instead of isothermal. This  reconciled theory and experiment. ( See  Appendix A:  Adiabatic rupture as an explanation for the anomalous weak tensile strengths of liquids and solids)  [18].


Now adiabatic processes, as we have seen above, have no net entropy change ( ds = 0). They are therefore neutral or non-hindering for orderly change and complexity emergence in the cell. Thus, with the breaking of the cytoplasm bonds by adiabatic rupture,  powerful explosive pulse waves are  emitted which, being adiabatic, do not hinder atomic and molecular rearrangements in the cell. This obviously could be an important factor in the emergence and energetic functioning of life in the cell.




7. Verifying the ‘ Wave/entropy/Origin of Life’ theory: A  ‘wave energized’  Miller-Urey type  Experiment


One ot the most significant experiments in  Origin of Life research is the Miler-Urey experiment [19] in which an aqueous  mixture of inorganic chemicals is agitated by  electric discharges for long periods of time  and then, upon chemical analysis, exhibits a wide variety of amino acids and other organic precursors of life that have spontaneously been synthesised by this purely  physical process.


More advanced experiments, with lipids for example,  have successfully generated  more complex biochemical molecules and structures such as peptides.  None has yet succeeded in actually producing  life.


 We now suggest that the  Miller-Urey and lipid  type experiments could be carried on with the addition of various  simulated cytoplasm  media  which are  energized  by wave action  characterized by negative entropy generation.  At a minimum , if the  wave hypothesis is valid, the result  should be to shorten the laboratory  treatment time  needed for complex order to emerge in a proto-cytoplasm test cell.  . 


Finding either a  significant speed-up in the emergence of  complex bio-chemicals,  or   the emergence of new bio-chemicals,  organelles, or proto-cells  would be verification of the proposed  role  of entropy- reducing  wave forms in the emergence of life on earth.


A final caveat. While the above cell wave hypothesis will be a major step foreword, if experimentally verified as seems very probable, we would point out that the great complexities and subtleties of the life process makes it highly probable that other major steps may be needed for a full and final explanatory  theory.



8.  Another Source of Cell Waves: The Cell Membrane as A Surface Active Film Supporing   Waves Which Could Also Lower the Entropy of Change At the Cell Surface


For completeness we  note that two-dimensional linear waves also occur in  surfsace active films on liquids and solids.  [ ,20,21, 22].  The cell membrane has characteristics of a surface active film. , A  surface-active membrane on a liquid droplet  obeys the linear  equation of state:


π = −aσ + b



re π is a surface pressure per unit area and σ is thee film density per unit surface ares and   a and b are constants pertaining to the line slope and intercept.


Comparing  this  with the linear Tangent Gas  equation of state          


p =  −av + b


we see that the two  linear equations of state both relate to a pressure and a space dimension function, with  the interfacial one  referring  to area while  the Tangent gas equation refers to  volume.  Physically, however, with respect to wave behavior and entropy change ,  the interfacial film of a wave support entity in two dimensional motion  should behave substantially the same as the tangent gas in three-dimensional ( volume ) motion, that is to say it should be linear in flow and in  expansion or contraction.. In general ,  surface films can be solid, liquid or expanded [20, 21, 22]. 


The solid film  case would have waves similar to those described for the semi-solid cytoplasm. Therefore, the orderly complexity of life would be favoured by certain types of waves  in such a thin film. How these would act in concert with those in the cytoplasm in the cell interior  is a matter for study.



9. Conclusions


We have proposed that a major development towards the emergence of life took place when the protocell first developed a solid- like cytoplasm capable of supporting stress –strain waves. Once this occurred, the cell wave environment would have become entropy favorable for the emergence and support of order and complexity, and the development of the complex living cell could then proceed to successful completion.


It should perhaps  be noted that introducing an entropy neutral, or entropy negative,  wave system into the cell does not logically affect the current abiogenesis nature of the  theory of the natural  emergence  of life  from the non-living  physical world. 


The change here is not some new non-physical effect, but rather that the  current, purely random,   physical evolution process in the warm  pond environment, is now replaced  by, or supplemented by,  a suitably structured cytoplasm  having  new linear wave properties. This new physical element brings with it a new physical, order- favorable  wave process, one with the property of having negative entropy change which  favors emergence of the complex chemical and biological structures  of life. 


The order- favorable entropy change environment that occurs  with  cytoplasm waves seems theoretically solid. If it is also confirmed experimentally, then we will face a substantial new factor in origin of life theory. Its factual reality would mean that there would exist a positive order and complexity mechanism acting in a semi-solid cytoplasm cell.. What  further  questions does it then give rise to.?


We will clearly have some conceptual revision to do.  The  current theory  is a probabilistic, Darwinian model where random order emerges occasionally and probabilistically in  an immensely  slow process  from the chaotic heat environment by working against the restraints of   positive entropy change.  In this theory, any new order emerges accidentally  and is  then tested for suitability  by  Darwinian natural selection.


The new  theory  -- one of  waves  within  the solid-like cytoplasm  in the cell --is the reverse in that it is  one of negative entropy change working for  the natural emergence of order and  complexity.  In the new system, the new order  emerges naturally, and  is then  tested  for suitability by Darwinian  natural selection. 


One new possibility is that  probabilistically emergent chemical entities, namely  the amino acids, when incorporated into the water of the protocell, may, because of their property of organizing water structure, also assist in altering  the cytoplasm structure to its  semi-solid state. and enabling  the occurrence of the necessary stress-strain waves and negative entropy for further emergent biological order, including  the formation of more amino acids and  the assemblage of these amino acids into proteins. This seems  a bit more than the current random emergent life model can handle. What would emerge here would be not just component ‘things’ but  a complex,  self promoting  system’.


Our viewpoint so far has been scientific. However, the philosophic aspects have their place, and so we might wonder if  our new hypothesis should  be  seen and expressed philosophically, not just as an evolution of biological structures, or of biological ‘things’, but instead  in terms of an  evolution of emergent recurrent biological  systems. [ 22].





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17 Eisenberg, D.,  and W. Kauzmann,  The Structure and Properties of Water.  Oxford Clarendon Press. 1969


18. Power, Bernard, A., Adiabatic rupture as an explanation for the anomalous weak tensile strengths of liquids and solids.  At,  2007


19 Harkins, W.D., The Physical Chemistry of Surfaces. Reinhold , New York, 1952


20. Davies, J. T. and E.K. Rideal,  Interfacial Phenomena. Academic Press, New York.   2nd Ed. 1963.


21. Adam, N.  K.,The Physics and Chemistry of Surfaces. Oxford University Press.  3rd. Ed., 1949                                    


22. Lonergan, Bernard J. F.,  S.J. Insight: A Study of Human Understanding. Philosophic Library, New York. 1956.




Copyright,  Bernard A. Power, June 2016

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Appendix A



Adiabatic rupture as an explanation for the anomalous weak tensile strengths of liquids and solids

Bernard A. Power

 Reviewed Aug. _ Sept. 2007: Revised Oct. 2007

( )

The observed  tensile strengths of liquids and solids are orders of magnitude lower than the theoretical isothermal rupture values. The discrepancy is currently   explained by heterogeneous nucleation of the ruptures in the theory of  nucleation rates. Still, the observations  for water do not agree with current theory.   However, an adiabatic  rupture producing  of voids or bubbles  ( Equation of state pvk = const.) would  give much lower theoretical tensile strengths in agreement with the observations.. The concept should be of interest to materials science, to chemical reaction kinetics in aqueous solution, and so to cell biology and genetics.


1. Introduction

  Theoretical estimates of the  tensile strength of solids and liquids give values of around  3 x 104  to 3 x 105 atm..  However, for  solids, the  experimental values are around 100 times smaller than that, while for  liquids, the observed values are 600 to 1500 times  smaller at  50 to 200 atmospheres (Kittell, 1968; Brennan ,1995), with water being among the very lowest.


 A simple classical derivation (Frenkel, 1955; Brennan 1995)  of the theoretical tensile strengths of solids or liquids considers the fractional volumetric expansion  ratio ∆V/Vo   needed to form the rupturing void, and this then is equated to an average  numerical value of  about 1/3 . Then, since liquids and solids have compressibility moduli K which are about. 105 to 106 atmospheres, we have a  rupture pressure  p(max) = −K(∆V/Vo).  Taking the average 1/3  value for ∆V/Vo ,  the rupture pressure p(max)   then becomes the theoretical 3 x 104  and  3 x 105 atmospheres just mentioned,  far higher than actually observed.


For solids, the discrepancy in tensile strength is usually ascribed to heterogeneous nucleation of rupture at defects such as cracks or dislocations in the lattice (Kittell, 1968).  In the case of liquids, the even larger  discrepancy is  usually explained by invoking the presence of irremovable tiny gas or solid  nuclei within  the liquid,  which act to lower the pressures and tensions needed for mechanical  rupture. Still, there remain discrepancies, and the foreign nuclei explanation, or heterogeneous nucleation process  acting alone, has  appeared somewhat  artificial, especially since the thermal rupture ( boiling)  values do agree more with the theory.



2. Adiabatic cavitation


 The basic mechanical equilibrium equation for the production of a spherical void, or vapour-filled bubble, in a liquid by rupture is usually expressed as a balance of forces inside and outside the spherical incipient void :

      pB  pL  =  ∆pmax  = 2 σ /RC                                                      (1)

 which gives the relationship between  the (negative) rupture pressure ∆p(max), the interfacial surface tension σ, and the rupture radius r. This process is also assumed to take place at the temperature of the bulk liquid, that is to say isothermally.


 The formation of  a bubble  by rupture thus requires a negative pressure ∆p(max)  exceeding  the  tensile strength 2 σ/r  in order to create the spherical void.     However, instead of the isothermal process ( with general form of its  equation of state pv+1 = const.)   which gives those unobserved  high tensile strengths and rupture predictions,  we could conceivably have an adiabatic rupture with pvk = const. A, where k > 1.   With k greater than unity, the adiabatic rupture pressure ∆p(max., adiabatic)  will  always be less than the presently assumed  isothermal rupture pressure.


To see this more clearly consider the following:


The isothernmal bulk modulus or modulus of elasticity for a liquid K is given by

Kis = − v  ∂p/∂v

And the adiabatic modulus is

Kad = − v  ∂p/∂v= k p  where k is the adiabatic exponent or ratio of specific heats cp  /cv


For liquids ( e.g. water )the two moduli have nearly  the same numerical value.


The pressure at the critical point is then  

p(max.) = −Kis (∆V/Vo) and



p(mac.) =  − Kad. (∆V/Vo)


The adiabatic bulk modulus Kad. for water has the value 2.2 x 104 atms.  Table 1 then shows the effect of taking the adiabatic rupture/cavitation mechanism in  water over a range of values of (∆V/Vo) i.e.  (ρ/ ∆ ρ )  and for various values  of the adiabatic exponent k from >1 to 7.. We point out first that V is the reciprocal of the density ρ, and  so we can put . (∆V/Vo)k =  (ρ/ ∆ ρ)k which is more convenient., that is


P(max.) =  − Kad. (∆V/Vo)k = − Kad(ρ/ ∆ ρ)k



The first step   is the conversion of the liquid water in a small volume V to a “gas-like” structure at the critical point, which means a fractional volume expansion of about 0.333 (i.e. the density of water at the critical point drops from 1 to about 0.3333). This initial step obviously requires the injection of a sufficient energy. The rupture pressure  in the new gas-like volume at this critical stage is now  p(mac.) =  − Kad. (∆V/Vo)  = 2.2 x 104 (0.333) = 7326  atm.


The second  step is the adiabatic expansion of the same ‘gas-like’ volume to a larger bubble  volume with  consequent decrease of the pressure. Clearly, for any given expansion ratio, the adiabatic expansion yields a much smaller final rupture pressure than the usual  isothermal rupture model.  For example, in Table 1,  a volume expansion of 1/3   (density ratio  ρ/ ∆ ρ  of  0.333)  yields an isothermal rupture pressure of  7326 atmospheres,  while the adiabatic  expansion at k = 7 has a rupture pressure of only  10.1 atmospheres .(The experimental data also show a definite effect of temperature on the final rupture pressure;  this does not affect the  conclusions reached here, since they are based on comparative values of the isothermal and adiabatic processes at any given initial temperature).



Table 1


Adiabatic rupture pressure  p ( max.)  for water ( Kad. = 2.2x104 )  for various assumed values of density change ratio (ρ/ ∆ ρ)



Rupture pressure  (p ( max.)  ( p = KAd. (ρ/ ∆ ρ)k) 




(ρ/ ∆ ρ)

                        k = 1**            k = 2        k = 3            k = 4         k = 5           k = 6                k = 7


0.1                   3300 atms.       220           22               2.2            0.22            0.022               2.2x10-3

0.20                 4400                880           176             35.2          7.04            1.41                 0.28

0.30                 6600                1980         594             178           53.5            16.0                 4.81

0.3333*           7326                2444         815             272           90.5            30.2                 10.1

0.40                 8800                3520         1408           563            225            90.1                 36

0.5                   11000              5500         2750           1375          688            344                  172

0.6                   13200              7920         4752           2851          1711          1026                616

1                      2.2x104            2.2x104      2.2x104          2.2x104        2.2x104      2.2x104            2.2x104           


*. Density  ratio (ρ/ ∆ ρ) at the critical temperature TC for  water is approximately this value of 0.33, the same value assumed by Frenkel


** Quasi-isothermal


Clearly, the isothermal hypothesis fails to yield  the observed rupture pressures of around 50 -250 atmospheres for water at any assumed density ratio. The adiabatic expansion hypothesis, however, does let the pressure reach the experimentally observed low values. 


What value for k are we then to adopt for pure water ?  At  the critical density expansion ratio  of  0.333, any value of k from k = 4 to k = 6 would encompass the observed ed rupture pressures of  about 250 to 50 atms. However,  it may also be  valuable to revisit the value of k = 7 obtained by  Courant and Friedrichs (1948) who discussed the expansion and contraction of spherical blast waves in water, and fitted the experimental data  to a quasi-equation of state for water under a pressure of around 3000 atm., which is pv7 = const or   p  =A ρ7  + B. They also derived this same  value of the adiabatic exponent k = 7  theoretically as a solution to their non-linear flow  equations for purely spherical ( i.e. radial) shock expansions in fluids. Their evidence that water rupture, at least in explosions,  is spherical and adiabatic would also seem to be generally applicable, since  all ruptures, even non- explosive ruptures, are quasi-sudden,  and so, at least initially, they all could be adiabatic as well.

As to the proper value of the density ratio (ρ/ ∆ ρ) to accept, if the rupture process for water  were envisaged as taking  place  by a transformation  from its usual density of  1 by one of the  usual cavitation  mechanisms, such as  a burst of electromagnetic or acoustic radiation into a small liquid volume ( the radiation being energetic enough  to break all the liquid water bonds in that volume quasi-simultaneously),  we would have a “ gas-like” liquid suddenly emerging with an expansion ratio of 0.333. Once the ‘gas-like  volume has emerged, we see that it must at once  expand  from an initial gas-like density ρ, again taken as unity,  to some smaller gas-like  density  ∆ ρ. by either the isothermal route p = K ((ρ/ ∆ ρ)  or the adiabatic route p = K (ρ/ ∆ ρ)k  where k is now greater than unity. The density ratio must then fall from unity  to some value consistent with the  usual  equation for pressure equilibrium,   p(max) = 2σ/r., where r is the radius of the critical bubble size.

Clearly the isothermal hypothesis cannot reach the observed low rupture pressures of 250 atmospheres or less,, while the adiabatic process can.  From Table 1 we again see that a k value of 7, over the  range of density expansion  ratios   (ρ/ ∆ ρ)k  .from 0.4 to 0.6, would more than encompass the observed range of rupture tensions of  50 to about 250 atmospheres at normal temperatures.


The proposed model would l require simultaneous  radial  rupture over a sufficient number of adjacent  bonds,  and therefore the theory of nucleation rate analysis would still appear to apply. The radial rupture might also of course be heterogeneous, and then all the various heterogeneous mechanisms of bubble formation presently considered may still be in play.


The proper value to be used for k in aqueous solutions, where the densities are different from those of pure water, would appear to be a matter for further study.


The third step: the attainment of a critical radius rc for rupture


I must be noted that Step  2 above is based solely on the density   ratio ρ/ ∆ ρ and has not specified any actual initial or final density or ( specific volume. ) However as the “gas-like’ liquid  bubble expands, it eventually  must physically become an ordinary vapour –filled bubble of homogeneous nucleaton theory, and the latter theory  requires that, for the bubble  to persist,  it must meet  the critical stability condition:


pB  pL  =  ∆pmax  = 2 σ /RC                                                         


Table 2 shows this final stability  condition over a range of sizes , rc


Table 2


Critical ( stable) radius rc for various rupture pressures in water


Critical radius of bubble, rc                                Rupture pressure,  p(max)  = 2 σ /r 

        (cm) (m)                                                   (σ = 75 dynes/cm)


                                                            a) (dynes/cm2)              b) atmospheres (dynes/cm2 x 10-6  )     

 1 cm                0.01 m                         140                                                      1.4 x10-4

10-1                  0.001                           1.4 x 103                                                             1.4 x 10-3

10-2                  10-4                              1.4 x 104                                                             1.4 x 10-2

10-3                  10-5                              1.4 x 105                                                             1.4 x 10-1

10-4                  10-6                              1.4 x 106                                              1.4

10-5                      10-7                              1.4 x 107                                              14

10-6                  10-8                              1.4 x 108                                              140

10-7                  10-9                              1.4 x 109                                              1400

10-8                  10-10                             1.4 x 1010                                             14,000




1.  The ratio between the  critical state liquid pressure ( 1.4 x  104 atms).and the observed   average rupture pressure for water  ( say 150  atms)   is  about 100/1.


2. On the isothermal expansion hypothesis with p1/p2  = V2/V1 , the volume ratio at critical rupture must be the same i.e.  about 100, .so that the radius ratio is  r2/r1 = 1001/3 = 4.64.


 On the adiabatic expansion hypothesis ( with k =7), it becomes p1/p2 = (V2/V1 )7 , so  thatV2/V1 = (p1/p2)1/7 = 1.93. and  r2/r1 = (1.93)1/3  = 1.25


3. If a bubble is to reach the critical rupture size of 10-8m at 140 atmospheres rupture pressure,  then the initial  radius size rc  for an adiabatic expansion at k = 7 would have to have been rc = 10-8/ 1.25 = 8 x 10-9  m;  moreover,   an input of energy sufficient to bring a volume  4/3 π (8 x  10-8)3  to the critical  “gas-like”  state must have been supplied to the liquid to bring about the rupture.  Any initial excited volume smaller than that may indeed   form a tiny gas bubble but  will immediately thereafter collapse because it is below the critical size required.


4. It may be noted that incipient bubbles, smaller than those having sufficient excited volume to become critical and bring about macro rupture of the liquid,  may still cause important  transient rupture effects on the molecular scale.  These, while never reaching the critical radius  leading to macro liquid rupture,  may still be of great importance on the molecular scale in locally removing a water film barrier between chemical reactant molecules in solution or suspension. This solvent film barrier phenomenon may therefore also be important in  the  kinetics of  so-called “slow” chemical reactions in solution.    



Solutions, Solids, Reaction Kinetics 


In simple cases, the relationship of k to n, the number of ways the energy of the system is divided, is given by k = (n +2)/n. With k = 7, the formula would require n to be  fractional at n = 1/3, and we would have to then interpret this physically as indicative of the spherical or radial expansion.


For solids, because of structural and steric hindrance, the flow orientation in a rupture flow may conceivably be only quasi- radial, and so a value of k between 4 and 6 might. then be appropriate, giving tensile strengths higher than for  liquids but  below the classical theoretical estimates. It t would appear that the new model may  be of interest to materials science.


Again, the  “slow” chemical  reactions mentioned in Note 4 above,  occur more often in liquid solution than in gases, and they are also the most sensitive to pressure, just as is the case with liquid rupture;  furthermore, the reaction rates are slowest when water is the solvent ( Laidler, 1965).  This all suggests that  the phenomenon of  rupture in liquid  water  may be important in  chemical reaction kinetics.  In gases, of course, adsorbed molecular films can also be present, and their removal  in collision reactions would enter in the same general way as for chemical reaction rates in solution.


Finally, we  may note that all the chemical and genetic reactions of life take place in the aqueous medium of the cell. Therefore, the kinetics and probabilities of the reactions of life and its evolution should  be subject to the  probability laws  that govern the aqueous rupture barrier which must be overcome on the molecular scale if the various biochemical  reactions and  interactions of life are to proceed.   


Brennen, Christopher E. (1995) Cavitation and Bubble Dynamics. Oxford Univ. Press.

Courant, R. and Friedrichs, K. O. (1948). Supersonic Flow and Shock Waves.  Interscience, New York.

Frenkel, J. (1955). Kinetic Theory of Liquids. Dover, New York.

Kittell, Charles. (1968)  Introduction to Solid State Physics. , 6th. ed. John Wiley & Sons Inc.,  New York

Laidler, Keith, J., (1965). Chemical Kinetics. McGraw-Hill.





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