Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Professor J.S. Kirkaldy


This dissertation is concerned with increasing the understanding of self-organising systems by a detailed investigation of several simple radiation absorbing models. We identify two important thermodynamic functions, the rate of entropy production and the free energy, which can be used to characterize the self-organising characteristics of the models. In addition to the minimal behaviour usually associated with the rate of entropy production we recognize a maximal behaviour. This mini-max principle for the entropy production rate, recognized in the models, is utilized as an evolutionary criterion for inanimate and animate systems. It is also demonstrated that the evolutionary character of the force dependent part of the entropy production rate for the models agrees with the earlier prescriptions of Prigogine and Li. Finally it is demonstrated that the multi-level models exhibit a kind of kinetic phase change which is accompanied by a population inversion in the models.

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