Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Did You Know?

What is negentropy?

Erwin Schrödinger

Erwin Schrödinger

The negentropy, also negative entropy or syntropy or extropy or entaxy, of a living system is the entropy that it exports to keep its own entropy low; it lies at the intersection of entropy and life. The concept and phrase “negative entropy” were introduced by Erwin Schrödinger in his 1944 popular-science book What is Life? Later, Léon Brillouin shortened the phrase to negentropy, to express it in a more “positive” way: a living system imports negentropy and stores it. In 1974, Albert Szent-Györgyi proposed replacing the term negentropy with syntropy. That term may have originated in the 1940s with the Italian mathematician Luigi Fantappiè, who tried to construct a unified theory of biology and physics.