19 Dec, 2013 500 Science

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.

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  • Ian Stewart 15 episodes
    Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick
  • Jeff Johnson No other episodes
    Professor of Complexity Science and Design at the Open University
  • Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly No other episodes
    Director of the Complexity Research Group at the London School of Economics

Reading list

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

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Programme ID: b03ls154

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Auto-category: 500 (Natural Sciences and Mathematics)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In the late 1940s, a chemist in Brussels called Elia Prigogine embarked on research which would take him in rather surprising directions.