Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Remote Departmental Colloquium -  Natural Complexity

 

Paul Charbonneau,
Département de Physique, Université de Montréal

Date: Friday September 25th, 2020
Time: 1:30 P.M 
Location: Remote

 

Abstract:

A snowflake, a lichen, and a solar flare; my first is a crystal whose structure is set by molecular interactions at the nanometer scale; my second is a symbiotic biological organism of centimeter scale shaped by strong physical constraints; my third is an energy release event occurring in a magnetohydrodynamical system of scales reaching a million kilometers. What could these three systems possibly have in common ? In this talk I will discuss a physical modelling paradigm whereby such natural complex systems and phenomena emerge from a great many simple dynamical elements interacting locally with one another at scales much smaller than the global scale of the system. Complexity thus emerges from simplicity! However this cannot be viewed as a disguised form of reductionism, because here even perfect knowledge of microscopic dynamics cannot be used to predict macroscopic behaviour, as it does in statistical thermodynamics.

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