Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos
In a rented convent in Santa Fe, a revolution has been brewing. The activists are not anarchists, but rather Nobel Laureates in physics and economics ... Show synopsis In a rented convent in Santa Fe, a revolution has been brewing. The activists are not anarchists, but rather Nobel Laureates in physics and economics such as Murray Gell-Mann and Kenneth Arrow, and pony-tailed graduates, mathematicians and computer scientists from Los Alamos. They share a deep impatience with the kind of linear, reductionist thinking that has dominated science since the time of Newton. Instead they are gathering novel ideas about interconnectedness, co-evolution, chaos, structure and order - and forging them into an entirely new, unified way of thinking about nature, human social behaviour, life, and the universe itself. Their iconoclastic think tank, the Santa Fe Institute, is creating a new science called "complexity". They want to know how a primordial soup of simple molecules managed to turn itself into the first living cell, and what the origin of life some four billion years ago can tell us about the process of technological innovation today. They want to know why ancient ecosystems often remained stable for millions of years, only to vanish in a geological instant, and what these might have to do with the sudden collapse of Soviet communism. Above all, they want to know how the universe manages to produce complex structures like galaxies, stars, planets, bacteria, plants, animals and brains. There are common threads in all these queries, and the Santa Fe scientists seek to understand them.