Synergetics (Haken)

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For other uses, see Synergetics.

Synergetics is an interdisciplinary science explaining the formation and self-organization of patterns and structures in open systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium. It is founded by Hermann Haken, inspired by the laser theory.

Self-organization requires a 'macroscopic' system, consisting of many nonlinearly interacting subsystems. Depending on the external control parameters (environment, energy-fluxes) self-organization takes place.

Order-parameter concept[edit]

Essential in synergetics is the order-parameter concept which was originally introduced in the Ginzburg-Landau theory in order to describe phase-transitions in thermodynamics. The order parameter concept is generalized by Haken to the "enslaving-principle" saying that the dynamics of fast-relaxing (stable) modes is completely determined by the 'slow' dynamics of as a rule only a few 'order-parameters' (unstable modes). The order parameters can be interpreted as the amplitudes of the unstable modes determining the macroscopic pattern.

As a consequence, self-organization means an enormous reduction of degrees of freedom (entropy) of the system which macroscopically reveals an increase of 'order' (pattern-formation). This far-reaching macroscopic order is independent of the details of the microscopic interactions of the subsystems. This supposedly explains the self-organization of patterns in so many different systems in physics, chemistry and biology.


  • H. Haken: "Synergetics, an Introduction: Nonequilibrium Phase Transitions and Self-Organization in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology", 3rd rev. enl. ed. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1983.
  • H. Haken: Advanced Synergetics: Instability Hierarchies of Self-Organizing Systems and Devices. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1993.
  • H. Haken: Synergetik. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 1982, ISBN 3-8017-1686-4
  • R. Graham, A. Wunderlin (Hrsg.): Lasers and Synergetics. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 1987, ISBN 3-540-17940-2
  • A. S. Mikhailov: Foundations of Synergetics I. Distributed active systems (2nd rev. ed. 1994). Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1990, ISBN 3-540-52775-3.
  • A. S. Mikhailov, A. Yu. Loskutov: Foundations of Synergetics II. Chaos and Noise, 2nd revised and enlarged edition, Springer Series in Synergetics. Springer, Berlin — Heidelberg 1996 (erste Auflage 1991), ISBN 0-387-53448-2.
  • Norbert Niemeier "Organisatorischer Wandel aus der Sicht der Synergetik"; Deutscher Universitätsverlag, Wiesbaden, 2000, ISBN 3-8244-0524-5

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