Does the Individual Matter in Complex Systems by Luis MA Bettencourt (Part 9 of 13)





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Published on May 20, 2013

The conference More is Different is about complexity.

"The 21st century," physicist Stephen Hawking has said, "will be the century of complexity." Likewise, the physicist Heinz Pagels has said that "the nations and people who master the new sciences of complexity will become the economic, cultural, and political superpowers of the 21st century."

Complexity is a movement in the sciences that greatly influences thoughts about the dynamics of our world. Instead of looking at objects of study top-down in a reductionist manner as has been done for four centuries, complexity science seeks to look at its objects of study from the bottom up, seeing them as systems of interacting elements that form, change, and evolve over time. Complexity therefore is not so much a subject as a way of looking at systems.

Complexity science is exciting. The knowledge it can deliver is crucial to coping with the grand challenges confronting humanity, such as hunger, energy, water, health, climate, security, sustainability, innovation, and the impact of technology.

Complexity science is inherently interdisciplinary. It gets its problems from the real non-disciplinary world and its energy and ideas from all fields of science, at the same time affecting each.

NTU started its complexity program in August 2011.

The conference More is Different marks the formal inauguration of a program.

The conference brings together twelve speakers the like of whom will not likely get together again. They are the founders and leaders of the field. To hear them share their insights in complexity and partake in their discussions will be a once in a lifetime experience for all participants to the conference.

The speakers cover a wide spectrum of areas, such as the evolution of language, the dynamics of the surface of the earth, sustainability, the evolution of technology, governance and the brain. They will show the enormous width of the field and indicate areas where our present insights may already have a serious impact on our actions, be it in government, in engineering or in science.

The setting of the conference is informal. After each of the talks there will be ample time for the audience and the speakers to discuss and meet.

It is NTU's ambition to become the Asian hub in the global network of scientific institutes that focus on complexity science through genuine interdisciplinary collaboration.

The conference More is Different presents a major first step in realizing that ambition.

We warmly invite you to actively take part in it.

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