Home | Search Serendip
Serendip
 
This is an archived page. For the updated page click here.

COMPLEX SYSTEMS

Drawing by Rachel Grobstein
"It makes me so happy. To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing. People were talking about the end of physics. Relativity and quantum mechanics looked as if they were going to clean out the whole problem between them. A theory of everything. But they only explained the very big and the very small. The universe, the elementary particles. The ordinary-sized stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about - clouds - daffodils - waterfalls - ... these things are full of mystery, as mysterious to us as the heavens were to the Greeks. Because the problem turns out to be different. ... A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It's the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong
Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard

For two thousand years people have believed that the sun and all the stars of heaven rotate around mankind. Pope, cardinals, princes, professors, captains, merchants, fishwives and schoolkids thought they were sitting motionless inside this crystal sphere. But now we are breaking out of it, Andrea, at full speed. ... The old idea was always that the stars were fixed to a crystal vault to stop them falling down. Today we have found the courage to let them soar through space without support ... And the earth is rolling cheerfully around the sun, and the fishwives, merchants, princes, and cardinals, and even the Pope are rolling with it ... The universe has lost its centre overnight, and woken up to find it has countless centres. So that each one can now be seen as the centre, or none at all. Life of Galileo, by Bertold Brecht

"Computers have made it possible to explore the consequences of of relatively simple interactions of relatively simple things in a way never before possible ... this new capability for observations makes possible significant insights into phenomena long felt to be complex for serious analysis." - Insights ...

"Simple things interacting in simple ways can yield surprisingly complex outcomes ... Brains too consist of relatively simple things interacting in relatively simple ways" - Simple Networks ...

"Each of us now can be seen as the center ... so its worth thinking about what all this means ..." - On Beyond ...

| Complexity and Emergence Forum | Complexity and Emergence | Serendip Home |

Send us your comments at Serendip
© by Serendip 1994- - Last Modified: Tuesday, 09-Dec-2008 12:30:22 EST