Friday, February 28, 2014

Complexity for Dummies

You can download the following paper at my page.

A Primer on Self-Organization:
With some tabletop physics you can do at home


Entropy and Self-Organization on the Table Top
Chasing Molecules
Call the Plumber
Meanwhile, on the Table Top
Beyond Entropy: Phase Space and Attractors
So, what ABOUT entropy, phase spaces, and attractors?

Abstract: Concepts of self-organization and complexity originating in statistical mechanics have proven useful in many disciplines. This paper gives an informal development of basic concepts of entropy, irreversibility, phase space, and self-organization using a bit of table-top physics anyone can observe. I placed ink droplets into a tumbler of water and photographed the evolution of this system over four hours. Vertical convention cells (self-organization) had appeared by eight (8) minutes but were almost gone by two (2) hours and twenty (20) minutes.

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