Living Matter and the Laws of Thermodynamics for the Biosphere

Nabil H. Swedan (Pacific Engineering PLLC Redmond, WA, USA)


The laws of thermodynamics have been developed for inert matter, and living matter has not been considered as a variable in these laws. Living matter possesses properties that have had major effects on biosphere evolution with time. The zeroth property is “Living matter is produced from living matter only.” The first property may be summarized as ”Living matter occupies the available spaces to the maximum extent when environmental conditions are favorable and no obstacles are present.” And the second property is “ Living matter mutates, changes, and adapts to maintain the continuity of life and size as large as possible when environmental conditions are unfavorable.” While the zeroth property is objective in nature, the first and second properties are subjective, in that they are driven by internal stimuli characterizing living matter. Their interaction with the laws of thermodynamics may be thought of as “philosophy intertwining with science.” Accordingly, the laws of thermodynamics are revised to factor in life as a variable. Mathematical expressions of the first and second laws are derived and some of their applicability to the biosphere and climate is explained and discussed. The main conclusion is that life changes climates and the fabric of the biosphere.


Laws of Thermodynamics; Biosphere; Photosynthesis; Past climates; Surface geology

Full Text:



[1] Vernadsky V. I. The Biosphere. English version by Copernicus, Springer-Verlag: New York, U.S.A, 1926, 1998: 192.

[2] Perry R. H. and Green D. Perry’s Chemical Engineers Handbook, 6th ed., Mc Graw-Hill, New York, U.S.A.. Ed. Crawford H. B. and Eckes B. E., Chapter 4, Thermodynamics, by Lin K. H., Van Ness H. C. and Abbott M. M., , 1984: 4-52+4-82.

[3] Anestis M. AP Biology, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2010: 359, Chapter 8, Photosynthesis: 73-84.

[4] Cain M. L., Bowman W. D. and Hacker S. D. Ecology, 3rd ed., Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 2014: 596. Chapter 4: 98-123; Chapter 10: 236-239.

[5] Swedan N. On the carbon cycle and its interactions with the biosphere, Russian Journal of Earth Sciences, 2019, 19, ES2007.

[6] DOI:10.2205/2018ES000643

[7] Van der Hammen T. The Pleistocene Changes of Vegetation and Climate in Tropical South America, Journal of Biogeography, 1974, 1(1): 3-26.

[8] DOI: 10.2307/3038066

[9] Black L. T. Russians in Alaska, University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks, Alaska, 2004: 328.

[10] Swedan N. H. Ridge Push Engine of Plate tectonics, Geotectonics, 2015, 49(4): 342-345.

[11] DOI: 10.1134/S0016852115040081

[12] Swedan N. H. Association of Variations in the Dynamics of the Lithosphere with Sea Temperature, Journal of Geological Research, 2018, 1(1): 8-16.

[13] DOI:

[14] Seton M., Gaina C., Müller R. D. and Heine C. Mid-Cretaceous seafloor spreading pulse: Fact or fiction? Geology, 2009,37(8): 687–690.

[15] DOI: 10.1130/G25624A.1

[16] Graham A. The Andes: A Geological Overview from a Biological Perspective, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 2009, 6,(3): 371-385.


[18] Berry E. W. The Age of the Bolivian Andes, Proc Natl AcadSci U S A, 1917,3(4): 283–285.

[19] DOI: 10.1073/pnas.3.4.283



  • There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright © 2019 Nabil H. Swedan

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.