Making Sense of a Complex World

Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Willey Hall 125
Christopher Budd (University of Bath)
The world around us often seems terribly complex, chaotic and difficult to understand. We encounter this every day: in the weather, social networks, sophisticated machinery, the internet. Frequently this complexity arises from the interaction of widely diverse scales in time and space. For example, the weather can turn in minutes, while the climate persists for many many years. Can math and science help us to make sense of all this complexity, or is it a study doomed from the start? Illustrating with many examples, Professor Budd will show that all is not lost. He will explain how simple properties often emerge from seemingly very complex systems, and how we can use these properties to gain understanding.
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