Dr. Arto Annila, physicist

Research interests


Since 2001 I have been motivated to look for a general principle of nature that explains why nature is rich but not random in diversity. Namely, we find the same patterns all over; sigmoid sum curves of skewed distributions, logarithmic spirals, and even of chaotic courses follow mostly straight lines (power laws) when data are plotted on log-log scales. This Grand Regularity makes no distinction between living and non-living or microscopic and cosmic or innate and artificial.

The empirically established universality implies unity of nature. In accordance with ancient atomism, I revive and speak for the notion that everything is made of quanta of light. Thus, while an observation could be interpreted by a discipline-specific theory, all observations should logically be comprehended by the same principle.


The principle of least action was already early on thought of making sense of complex just as of simple phenomena. It says: difference in energy of any kind will level off in least time. So, a step down in free energy is an irreversible step forward in time.

This universal principle explains the aforementioned universal patterns when derived from statistical mechanics of open quantized systems. It reveals that evolution is inherently a non-determinate and path-dependent process that yields history.

Processes as flows of quanta will all by themselves search by variation and naturally select those ways and means, such as species and societies or gadgets and galaxies or behavior and business, to consume free energy in the least time. Eventually, when the system attains balance with its surroundings, no new property will emerge and no old one will vanish.


Science by submerging in specialties supplies us with detailed information and by unravelling universalities it endows us with insight and thorough understanding. Indeed, when our delusions of uniqueness have narrowed, our worldview has widened toward the entirety. As apparent from papers and talks, as well as from the recent book, many phenomena, puzzles, and paradoxes can be comprehended by the universal principle of least time.

We live in the middle of
everything — everything
is quanta of light.




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