The characteristic behavior of some dissymmetrical molecules, which tend to cluster together into more complex, but similarly dissymmetrical systems.
The self-assembling capacity can probably be considered as the very root of the basic associative processes in nature.
In G.M. WHITESIDES words: "Self-assembly omits the human hand from the building". While in some cases: "People may design the process and… may launch it,… once under way it proceeds according to its own internal plan, either toward an energetically stable form, or toward some system whose form and function are encoded in its parts".(1995, p.114)
There are many natural systems which are self-assembling, from a simple raindrop to the human beings and societies.
Self-assembly has its roots in physics and chemistry, and still more deeply in symmetry-breaking in energetic processes. This is thermodynamic self-assembly.
This very basic process led to a more complex form of self-assembly in living systems. In WHITESIDES words: "The construction of a cell's complexity is balanced thermodynamically by energy-dissipating structures within the cell and requires complex molecules such as ATP… (p.116).
"The kind of self-assembly embodied by life is called coded self-assembly because instructions for the design of the system are built into its components" (Ibid).
According to WHITESIDES, our machines of the future will be much more complex that our present ones and based on self-assembly.
Self-assembly is closedly related to associativity, autogenesis, growth and form, order from order principle, slaving principle, sociogenesis and stigmergy.
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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