Thursday, February 4, 2010 • 3:30 PM • Robert N. Noyce Conference Room, SFI

Developing an Emergent Perspective: from Physics to Complex Adaptive Systems to Science Education

David Pines, U C Davis, ICAM, UIUC, and SFI Science Board

Abstract: It has become widely accepted that understanding emergent behavior in quantum or living matter requires a paradigm shift: abandoning the traditional reductionist approach (based on a focus on the interactions between its individual constituents) in favor of an emergent perspective? Identifying the collective organizing concepts and principles that are gateways to emergent behavior and using these as the basic building blocks for models of that behavior. In this equation-free colloquium intended for a general audience I will give examples of the application of an experiment-based emergent perspective to problems at the frontiers in quantum matter, discuss its potential usefulness in the study of emergent behavior in complex adaptive systems more generally, and consider its application to one of the major challenges confronting our society? Improving dramatically the public understanding of science.

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