Friday, January 31, 2014

The History and Promise of Complexity Science - BBC4

Complexity at BBC4 In Our Time
Complexity was little understood a generation ago, but research into complex systems now has important applications in many fields, from biology to political science. Several scientists discuss the history and promise of complexity science, noting Santa Fe Institute's contributions to the emerging field.

The MP3 is available for download.

Duration: 43 minutes
First broadcast: Thursday 19 December 2013

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss complexity and how it can help us understand the world around us. When living beings come together and act in a group, they do so in complicated and unpredictable ways: societies often behave very differently from the individuals within them. Complexity was a phenomenon little understood a generation ago, but research into complex systems now has important applications in many different fields, from biology to political science. Today it is being used to explain how birds flock, to predict traffic flow in cities and to study the spread of diseases.

  • Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick
  • Jeff Johnson, Professor of Complexity Science and Design at the Open University
  • Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly, Director of the Complexity Research Group at the London School of Economics.
Listen to the program on BBC Radio (43 minutes, December 19, 2014) 



    • Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Linked: The New Science of Networks (Perseus Books, 2003)
    • Mark Buchanan, Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks (W. W. Norton & Company, 2003)
    • Mark Earls, Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature (John Wiley & Sons, 2009)
    • Roger Lewin, Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos (University of Chicago Press, 1992)
    • Melanie Mitchell, Complexity: A Guided Tour (Oxford University Press, 2011)
    • Herbert Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial (MIT Press, 1996)
    • Steven Strogatz, Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order (Hyperion, 2003)
    • Duncan Watts, Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton University Press, 2003)


    Presenter: Melvyn Bragg
    Interviewed Guests: Ian Stewart, Jeff Johnson, Eve Mitleton-Kelly
    Producer: Thomas Morris

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