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
Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators
14.12.2018 | DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet
14.12.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
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