Complexity Conference on A Crude Look at the Whole
(4 to 6 March 2013)
Complexity embodies some of the hardest, most fundamental and most challenging open problems in academia. In that sense it is truly “big science”.
It also lies at the root of the most burning issues that confront us every day, such as climate, hunger, sustainability, energy, urbanisation, water, health, security, innovation, and the impact of technology. In that sense complexity is what we have created, what we are, and what we do.
The most compelling challenge for the world community is to find ways to “deal” with that complexity and exercise some element of control over our future. Complexity as “big science” is key to meeting this challenge. A Crude Look at the Whole is about complexity in all senses of the word.
Among the conference speakers was Nobel Laureate Professor Murray Gell-Mann. He was appointed as a Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professor in relation to his visit.
Professor Murray Gell-Mann is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute as well as the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1969 for his work on the theory of elementary particles.
Professor Gell-Mann is the author of The Quark and the Jaguar, published in 1994, in which his ideas on simplicity and complexity are presented to a general readership. Among his contributions to physics was the “eightfold way” scheme that brought order out of the chaos created by the discovery of some 100 kinds of particles in collisions involving atomic nuclei. He subsequently found that all of those particles, including the neutron and proton, are composed of fundamental building blocks that he named “quarks,” with very unusual properties. He and others later constructed the quantum field theory of quarks and gluons, called "quantum chromodynamics," which seems to account for all the nuclear particles and their strong interactions.
Professor Gell-Mann was also on the U.S. President’s Science Advisory Committee from 1969 to 1972 and the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology from 1994 to 2001.