Bénard convection

From Anarchy In Action
RBCells.jpg

The Bénard convection is a self-organizing chemical reaction, a spontaneous order emerging out of a non-equilibrium situation of extreme heat. In a liquid heated uniformly from below, an orderly "honeycomb" pattern of hexagons emerges.

In Brussels in the 1960s, the chemist Ilya Prigogine closely examined Henri Bénard's discovery that heating a liquid from below creates a kind of heat convection (meaning a transfer of heat) to the liquid's center, at which point the honeycomb pattern emerges. The convection also occurs in nonhuman nature. Heat flowing from the land into sky creates hexagonal patterns in desert sand dunes and Arctic ice fields.[1]

  1. Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life (New York: Anchor Books, 1997), 87-88.