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Gateways to Emergent Behavior in Science and Society (4034)

September 23, 2013 – September 26, 2013


Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA)

Photo Credits: DeBartolo,,,



David Pines, University of California, Davis
John Holland, University of Michigan
Simon Levin, Princeton University
Donald Saari, University of California, Irvine


When electrons or atoms or plants or people and their environment interact, the behavior of the whole is different from that of its parts. We call that collective behavior emergent. Emergence thus refers to collective phenomena or behaviors in complex systems that do not exist in their individual parts; gateways to emergence are the regularities that characterize emergent behavior and the organizing principles that may be able to explain it.

The search for the gateways to emergent behavior in science and society is thus equivalent to the search for the organizing principles and concepts responsible for the emergent behavior we observe or measure in the natural world or social systems, It involves a mix of phenomenology, theory, experiment, and observation, and the test of a candidate gateway is the extent to which it explains experiment or observation and, additionally, when incorporated in a model, has predictive power.

Thrust Area

Quantum Matter


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