Intro video to the history and ideas of complexity science and networks

I needed a video presenting the historical development of ideas behind the complexity and network science in 20 minutes—an impossible task of course (especially since I couldn’t spend too much time on prepping it). Anyway, someone out there could be interested, so here it is: Some credits not stated in the video: The starling murmuration […]

Emergence: Profoundly trivial

This post is an echo of voices from the distant past, prompted by a tweet by Fernando Rosas. (It’s also not entirely fact-checked and somewhat tongue-in-cheek.) Emergence is trivial! Emergence is what makes it possible to have different levels of description. Biologists can discuss cells; medical scientists can talk about tissues made of millions of […]

For the love of hens

In the first few years of the last century, during his summer breaks at a farm, Norwegian schoolboy Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe spent time observing chicken. He noticed that when hens peck on each other—as they do when they fight, typically about food—they follow specific patterns. If hen A pecked on hen B, B would not peck […]

Faraway, so close! Nobel prize to complex systems

Yesterday, it was announced that Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann, and Giorgio Parisi get to share the 2021 Nobel prize in physics. Woo hoo! I had a smile on my lips running through the night streets of Tokyo (my usual exercise). The best part is the motivation: “For groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical […]

Do you believe in ghosts?

I do. In the sense of phantom traffic jams—traffic jams without a bottleneck, that just emerge spontaneously (and with peculiar density characteristics—more below). The most fundamental feature of highway traffic is the “inverse-λ shape” flow-density diagram. Flow is the number of vehicles that pass a point along the road. Density is how many cars there […]