Advances in complex systems, an explanation in easy words by the Complexity Science Hub (c) Shutterstock



Simply complex


Admittedly, the publications and methods of complexity science with all its formulas are difficult to understand for laymen and -women.

But the underlying principles are well communicable: what complexity really is; which properties complex systems have ; and that it is not only worthwhile, but increasingly necessary to understand complex systems.

After all, our world with its thousands of parts does not follow a simple if-then logic.

The living world is connected, knotted and wired in a variety of ways. The (sub)systems are interdependent, in constant exchange, in ongoing, interactive evolution and change.

The many challenges humanity faces today make it more and more obvious: With the reductionism we practiced so far, we only insufficiently can approach this complexity. We need entirely new tools, a new way of thinking, to cope with the complex world.

Complexity science is about to develop these tools. It wants to find ways to deal with complex systems in “more appropriate” ways than the reductionist approaches have done so far.

That’s why it is worthwhile for non-mathematicians and non-physicists too to give complexity a second thought.

To facilitate the approach, I have prepared a few “explanatory pieces”:

  • a short piece “Complexity in easy words”
  • accompanied by the cartoon “Making sense of complexity” by the Australian artist and writer Sarah C. Firth

I would also like to refer to a German article – with the telling title “Everything so terribly complicated” – which I wrote a few years ago as a journalist for “profil Wissen” and which also deals with the principles, basic assumptions and areas of application of complexity research. Incidentally, it cites some of the those complexity researchers who are closely linked to the Hub today.

I wish you a pleasant read!

Verena Ahne
Knowledge Transfer & Dissemination



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