Chemoton theory

Volume 1: Theoretical Foundations of Fluid Machineries

Volume 2: Theory of Living systems

Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2003

„Preface to the English Language Edition

The second half of the twenties century passed in the glamour of the digital information. In the middle of the century technology produced the first computers - and until the end of the century they developed, with incredible speed, into the World Wide Web. In biology, the Watson - Crick model was born in 1953. It proves that living systems are also using digital technology to store genetic information. Here the development was stunning, too; today the manipulation of genetic information and the cloning are the fashionable research subjects.

Nevertheless, there was a great difference between the two disciplines. In computer technology we got find out, to discover and develop, everything from scratch, both in hardware and software. In biology, on the contrary, we had everything readymade; we ’only’ got to recognize to understand the workings of living systems. But this ’only’ was not a smaller achievement, as the biological products of nature - the results of a long evolutionary development - became exceedingly complex. And here the events, the reactions are even taking place on molecular dimensions. Maybe that is why biology developed in the past half century one sided: everybody was researching the storage, replication, communication and modification of the genetic information - and nobody was interested in the construction and organization of the machines, utilizing this information.

This was a deficiency - even a grave error - both in biological as well as in technological respect. In biological respect, because the digital information itself, without the equipment to read, understand and utilize it, is useless, is only a chaotic collection of signs. In technological respect is was  an error, because the living world is employing in its machines methods and principles that are still unknown - but could be very important - for the human technology. To mention only one example: every machine of the living world is a self-reproducing automaton - and this we can’t achieve with our hard technology.

Only one theory was presented - the Chemoton Theory - which concentrates on the construction principles of the machines of the living world. This is the general theory of the fluid (chemical) machines and its application onto the nature, origin and functioning of living systems. The chemoton model itself is the model of a program-directed, self-reproducing fluid automaton, which is at the same time the minimal model of living systems.

The Chemoton Theory  didn’t receive a green light to the public opinion of the scientific world. It didn’t receive a green light, as it was developed behind the Iron Curtain and the author was isolated from the free world’s scientific community. But also, it was neither commented, nor discussed, because the scientific atmosphere was not receptive for its: there was not a single scientific institute with research program on this subject; neither a scientific journal, to publish articles about this type of investigation. Nevertheless, already in 1971 the essential components of the chemoton theory were published in Hungarian language in the author’s book: ‘The Principle of Life’. The complete theory was published in 1984 and 1989 in the original Hungarian edition of these two volumes.

Luckily, the situation is completely changed today. The Iron Curtain, dividing the world, disappeared and at the same time the scientific community is recognizing that the functioning of the living world can not be explained solely by the storage and processing of genetic information. ‘The Principle of Life’ is already available in English (Oxford University Press) and the Kluwer/Plenum publishing house offers in these two volumes the complete Chemoton Theory to the interested readers. These books are the unmodified translations of the original Hungarian editions.

As author, I owe a depth of thanks to Professor Paul Mezey and to Éena Jako for their efforts to arrange this publication; László Varga for carefully drawing the illustrations and to the Collegium Budapest (Institute for Advanced Study) for donating a fellowship, which  helped me greatly in the preparation of this edition. And I am grateful above all to three persons: to Koppány Thaly for taking over all the troubles of the electronic editing and Susanne Mórász and to my wife, Méda, for entering into the text about six hundred complicated equations and for helping with the corrections of the final version".

Nagymaros (Hungary), 2003. August

The Author