Ervin Bauer

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Ervin Bauer
Born19 October 1890
Died11 January 1938
Alma materUniversity of Göttingen
Known forformulation of the basic principles of theoretical biology
Scientific career
InstitutionsInstitute of Experimental Medicine, Leningrad, Soviet Union

Ervin Bauer (19 October 1890, Lőcse, Hungary (today Levoča, Slovakia) – 11 January 1938 Leningrad, Soviet Union) was a Hungarian biologist.

Short Biography[edit]

In 1935, Ervin Bauer published a monograph Theoretical biology[1], in which he described the general thermodynamic features of living systems. His writings became particularly influential for the development of theoretical biology in Russia and several other countries[2].

In 1925 he moved from Hungary to Russia. Since 1933 he lived in Leningrad.

His first wife was a writer Margit Kaffka (who died in 1918), and his second wife was a mathematician Stefánia Szilárd.

Bauer and his wife Stefánia were arrested by NKVD on 4 August 1937, and both were shot on 11 January 1938.[3]


Ervin Bauer formulated the principle of stable non-equilibrium state which he considered as the basic characteristics of living matter. According to Bauer, living systems function in the expense of non-equilibrium, and the external energy is used not directly to perform work but to support the stable non-equilibrium state. Bauer's principle is incorporated into non-linear thermodynamics of irreversible processes[4]. Living systems in this framework cannot support their organization only due to the influx of external energy, i.e. the ordering internal factor is involved. The activity of living system is fully determined by the internal pattern of its non-equilibrium state and any work performed by the biological system appears as the work of its structural forces. The process of evolution, according to Bauer, corresponds to the increase in external work, which aims to exploit additional resources to maintain living state of evolving biosystems[1].


  1. ^ a b Bauer, Ervin (1935). Theoretical Biology. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó (published 1984). ISBN 9630530147. OCLC 10606643.
  2. ^ Elek, Gábor; Müller, M. (2013). "The living matter according to Ervin Bauer (1890–1938), (on the 75th anniversary of his tragic death) (History)". Acta Physiologica Hungarica. 100 (1): 124–132. doi:10.1556/APhysiol.99.2012.006. ISSN 0231-424X. PMID 23232706.
  3. ^ Müller, Miklós 2005. Ervin Bauer (1890-1938), a martyr of science. The Hungarian Quarterly 178: 123-131.
  4. ^ Brauckmann, Sabine (2000). "The Organism and the Open System: Ervin Bauer and Ludwig von Bertalanffy". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 901 (1): 291–300. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2000.tb06288.x. ISSN 1749-6632. PMID 10818580.