After some research I have found that there are a few “kernel” authors who have done much to guide the flow of intellectual history. These authors typically go unmentioned in textbooks but those who are a part of the kernel typically reference one another, albeit sparingly.
1. Charles Sanders Pierce
2. Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana, autopoesis
3. Illya Prigogine, dissipative systems, complex adaptive systems, entropy flow, chemistry
4. Ken Wilber
5. Robert Rosen, mathematical biologist, used category theory (one of the most advanced, abstract and general areas of math) to create a mathematical definition for an organism. Has been referred to as the “Newton” of biology.
6. G. Spencer Brown