Complexity: A Science of the Future?

Complexity: A Science of the Future?

Monday, May 9, 2016

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences

 

An archived recording of this event is available via Livestream under "Archived Events" at:

https://livestream.com/newyorkacademyofsciences

A podcast of this event is available for download here.

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.

Featured Speakers

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

Moderator

George Musser, PhD

Contributing Editor at Scientific American; author of Spooky Action at a Distance and The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory

Registration — Individual Lecture Prices

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Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$7



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.



Contact Us

Jennifer Costley, PhD

Director, Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering
212.298.8675
jcostley@nyas.org

Featured Speakers

Bernard Chazelle, PhD

Princeton University

Bernard Chazelle is Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. His current research focuses on the "algorithmic nature" of living systems.

A professor at the Collège de France in Paris in recent years as well as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, he received his PhD in computer science from Yale University in 1980. The author of the book, The Discrepancy Method, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the recipients of three Best-Paper awards from SIAM.

Marcelo Gleiser, PhD

Author of A Tear at the Edge of Creation; Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College

Marcelo Gleiser is a theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College specializing in particle cosmology—mixing the physics of the very smallest constituents of the universe with the physics of the universe as a whole. To make sense of the world and our place in the grand scheme of things, he studies the emergence of complex structures in nature, focusing on very fundamental questions related to what he calls the "three origins": cosmos, life, and mind.

Michael Strevens, PhD

Author of Bigger than Chaos; Professor of Philosophy at New York University

Michael Strevens was born and raised in New Zealand. He moved to the US in 1991 to undertake a PhD at Rutgers University; currently, he teaches philosophy of science at New York University. His academic work covers topics such as understanding, complexity, causation, and the social structure of science, as well as the philosophical applications of cognitive science.

Geoffrey West, PhD

Distinguished Professor and Past President, Santa Fe Institute

Geoffrey West is Distinguished Professor and former President of the Santa Fe Institute, and Associate Fellow of Oxford University's Martin School. His BA is from Cambridge and PhD from Stanford where he later joined the faculty. West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions ranging from elementary particles and their interactions to universal scaling laws in biology and developing a science of cities, companies and global sustainability. His work is motivated by the search for "simplicity underlying complexity." His research includes metabolism, growth, aging & death, sleep, cancer and ecosystems, the dynamics of cities and companies, rates of growth and innovation, and the accelerating pace of life. He has been featured widely across the media including The New York Times, The Economist, Financial Times, Wired, Scientific American, Nova, National Geographic and the BBC. His work was selected as a breakthrough idea by Harvard Business Review (2007) and for Time's 2006 list of "100 Most Influential People in the World."

Moderator

George Musser, PhD

Contributing Editor at Scientific American; author of Spooky Action at a Distance and The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory

George Musser is a contributing editor at Scientific American magazine, a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT for 2014–2015, and the author of Spooky Action at a Distance (2015) and The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory (2008). Although he focuses on space science and fundamental physics, his writings range widely over the sciences. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the 2011 Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics and 2010 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award from the American Astronomical Society. As a Scientific American senior editor for 14 years, he was co-awarded the National Magazine Award in 2003 and 2011.

Sponsors

Presented by

  • The New York Academy of Sciences

Grant Support

  • Templeton Foundation

This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this event are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

Promotional Partner

Chaos, Solitons & Fractals

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