Dr Mae-Wan Ho has recently passed away after a brave fight against cancer.

Her work provided important information about biotechnological issues, as well as sustainability, climate change and, in particular, the nature of water.

Dr Mae-Wan Ho

Mae-Wan was the author of several books and Editor of the Journal of Science in Society, produced by the Institute of the same name, which she founded. She was a prolific author. Two of her books are prominent in explaining the role of biological water in organising living processes. She has been extremely productive with nearly 200 scientific papers, over 600 popular articles and several more books.

She was a prominent critic of neo-Darwinism and genetic determinism, and was amongst the first to warn of the dangers of genetic modification. She took part in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and was frequently asked to provide advice to organisations and international agencies on a range of issues, including sustainable agriculture, renewable energies, evolution, and science and art.

Mae-Wan wrote a book showing the lack of sustainability of genetically modified organisms. She also contributed significantly to the thermodynamics of complex systems, and discussed extensively the Prigogine ideas. Her recent work presented a reliable thermodynamics of living organisms, developing a Prigogine approach.

In 2014 she was awarded the Prigogine Medal (http://www.wessex.ac.uk/conferences/2014/sustainable-city-2014) in an act that took place at the Aula Magna of the University of Siena. The Medal was established by that University and the Wessex Institute in 2004 to honour the memory of Professor Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry. His ideas established the basis for ecological systems research.

On that occasion, Dr Ho’s special lecture was on “Sustainable Cities: A New Perspective”. She demonstrated that the circular thermodynamics based on dynamic closeness in natural space-time dimensions enable organisms to approach zero entropy production simultaneously at equilibrium and far from equilibrium conditions. This confirms and extends Ilya Prigogine’s Principle of Minimum Energy Production for living systems and has implications for sustainable cities and other built environments, as well as ecosystems and economic systems.

Mae-Wan’s wide range of interests led her to the organisation of art, science and music festivals, including a recent one dealing with the Colours of Water, to raise public awareness on the depletion and pollution of water resources and the importance of conservation and sustainable use. She also developed those ideas in her article “Water is the Means, Medium and Message of Life”, (International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, Vol 9, No 1, 2014)..

Mae-Wan will be sorely missed by her many friends and colleagues from all over the world who shared her concern with the need to achieve biosafety and sustainable development in a rapidly changing world.

Carlos A Brebbia