Self-organization is a growing interdisciplinary field of research about a phenomenon that can be observed in the Universe, in nature and in social contexts. Researchers seek explanations by using both experimental, often computer-based approaches and empirical, observational approaches. Mechanisms of self-organization are beginning to be identified and the theoretical foundation is under development. Research on self-organization tries to describe and explain forms, complex patterns and behaviours that arise without an outside organizer. They arise under complex conditions away from equilibrium, on the edge of chaos. One common characteristic of the mechanisms that trigger and create self-organization are the use of simple rules for the emergence of complex processes.
A large part of the discussion during the symposium dealt with theories and methods in research on self-organization. Both experiments and empirical research are needed, but perhaps above all the development of a platform of knowledge from which it is possible to deal with the complexity that is also the precondition for self-organization. Reductionist approaches were deemed insufficient and a closer association between physics and biology was identified as a future strategy, since both these disciplines study relationships and characteristics in dynamic systems.
This is a summary of the June issue of Philosophical Transactions A. The 18 papers in this issue can be found on FirstCite, the Societys rapid online publication service at
Tim Watson | alfa
Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope
13.12.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure
13.12.2017 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
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