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Early discoveries in physics were driven primarily by observation, by searching for an explanation for what can be seen. In the 20th century, revolutionary advances in theoretical physics often anticipated—sometimes by decades—the experimental verifications of the existence of elementary particles of crucial importance to particle physics, such as the neutrino and Higgs boson. In recent years, the advent of sophisticated computer technology has allowed studies of complex systems, in which large collections of components interact in nonlinear ways, such as cell colonies, neurons in the brain, the immune system, economic markets, and social groups. In complex systems, simple, nonlinear interactions are iterated over time and give rise to self-organization, evolution, learning, and adaptation—phenomena that eluded explanation until now, or as the physicist Phil Anderson stated, "More is different." This panel, including selected physicists and mathematicians, will explore whether studies of complexity complement traditional physics or may upend science as we know it.
* Reception to follow.
Bernard Chazelle, PhD
Author of The Discrepancy Method: Randomness and Complexity; Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University
Marcelo Gleiser, PhD
Author of A Tear at the Edge of Creation; Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College
Michael Strevens, PhD
Author of Bigger than Chaos; Professor of Philosophy at New York University
Geoffrey West, PhD
Distinguished Professor and Past President, Santa Fe Institute
George Musser, PhD
Contributing Editor at Scientific American; author of Spooky Action at a Distance and The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory
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This program is made possible by the generous support of:
The event is part of the Physics of Everything series.
This six-part series will unite some of the most vibrant public intellectuals and communicators of today—from scientists to philosophers, and ethicists to educators—for explorations that reflect on the current state of modern physical sciences.
To learn more about each lecture and to purchase tickets, click on the links below.
- • What Does the Future Hold for Physics: Is There a Limit to Human Knowledge? Tuesday, April 5, 2016
- • Where do Physics and Philosophy Intersect? Monday, April 25, 2016
- • Complexity: A Science of the Future? Monday, May 9, 2016
- • The Rise of Human Consciousness Monday, May 23, 2016
- • Are We Alone in the Universe? Monday, June 13, 2016
- • Did Einstein Kill Schrödinger's Cat? A Quantum State of Mind Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Jennifer Costley, PhD
Director, Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering