COMPLEXITY: Physics of Life

COMPLEXITY: Physics of Life

Are there universal laws of life and can we find them? Is there a physics of society, of ecology, of evolution? Join us for six episodes of thought-provoking insights on the physics of life and its profound implications on our understanding of the universe. In this season of the Santa Fe Institute’s Complexity podcast’s relaunch, we talk to researchers who have been exploring these questions and more through the lens of complexity science. Subscribe now and be part of the exploration!

Episodes

April 10, 2024 40 mins

Guests: 

  • Heather Graham, Research Associate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Hosts: Abha Eli Phoboo & Chris Kempes

Producer: Katherine Moncure

Podcast theme music by: Mitch Mignano

Additional sound credits: Digifish music; “Determination of Azimuth,” written by Heather Graham, staged at the Baltimore Rock Opera Society

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Guests: 

  • David Krakauer, President and William H. Miller Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute
  • Sean Carroll, External Professor and Fractal Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute, Homewood Professor of Natural Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University

Hosts: Abha Eli Phoboo & Chris Kempes

Producer: Katherine Moncure

Podcast theme music by: Mitch Mignano

Additional sound credits: Digifishmusic, Trundlefly, Greenvwbeetle,...

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March 13, 2024 33 mins

Guests: 

  • Melanie Moses, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Professor of Computer Science and Associate Professor of Biology at University of New Mexico
  • Hyejin Youn, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Associate Professor at Institute of Northwestern University

Hosts: Abha Eli Phoboo & Chris Kempes

Producer: Katherine Moncure

Podcast theme music by: Mitch Mignano

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February 28, 2024 29 mins

Guests: 

  • Brian Enquist, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Arizona
  • Pablo Marquet, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Professor at Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Hosts: Abha Eli Phoboo & Chris Kempes

Producer: Katherine Moncure

Podcast theme music by: Mitch Mignano

Other music: Craig Smith, Justkid...

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February 14, 2024 33 mins

Guests: 

  • Ricard Solé, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Head of the Complex Systems Lab at Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • Sara Walker, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Associate Director of the ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems

Hosts: Abha Eli Phoboo & Chris Kempes

Producer: Katherine Moncure

Podcast theme music by: Mitch Mignano

Other music: Matucha, Kijjaz, Klankbeeld, Aesterial-Arts, Dijifishmusi...

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January 31, 2024 34 mins

Guests: 

  • Vijay Balasubramanian, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, Cathy and Marc Lasry Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Geoffrey West, Shannan Distinguished Professor and Past President, Santa Fe Institute

Hosts: Abha Eli Phoboo & Chris Kempes

Producer: Katherine Moncure

Podcast theme music: Mitch Mignano

Other Music: Blue Dot Sessions, Pink House Music, Eardeer, and Craig Smith.

Follow us on: Tw...

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January 29, 2024 3 mins
Trailer for Complexity: Physics of Life, from the Santa Fe Institute
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Episode Title and Show Notes:

106 - Michael Garfield & David Krakauer on Evolution, Information, and Jurassic Park

Welcome to Complexity, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I'm Michael Garfield, producer of this show and host for the last 105 episodes. Since October, 2019, we have brought you with us for far ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the ...

One way of looking at the world reveals it as an interference pattern of dynamic, ever-changing links — relationships that grow and break in nested groups of multilayer networks. Identity can be defined by informational exchange between one cluster of relationships and any other. A kind of music starts to make itself apparent in the avalanche of data and new analytical approaches that a century of innovation has availed us. But jus...

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For centuries, Medieval life in Europe meant a world determined and prescribed by church and royalty. The social sphere was very much a pyramid, and everybody had to answer to and fit within the schemes of those on top. And then, on wings of reason, Modern selves emerged to scrutinize these systems and at great cost swap them for others that more evenly distribute power and authority. Cosmic forces preordained one’s role within a t...

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How do we get a handle on complex systems thinking? What are the implications of this science for philosophy, and where does philosophical tradition foreshadow findings from the scientific frontier?

Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers develop...

And now for something completely different!  Last October, The Santa Fe Institute held its third InterPlanetary Festival at SITE Santa Fe, celebrating the immensely long time horizon, deep scientific and philosophical questions, psychological challenges, and engineering problems involved in humankind’s Great Work to extend its understanding and presence into outer space. For our third edition, we turned our attention to visionary p...

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There are maps, and there are territories, and humans frequently confuse the two. No matter how insistently this point has been made by cognitive neuroscience, epistemology, economics, and a score of other disciplines, one common human error is to act as if we know what we should measure, and that what we measure is what matters. But what we value doesn’t even always have a metric. And even reasonable proxies can distort our unders...

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This is a podcast by and for the curious — and yet, in over three years, we have pointed curiosity at nearly every topic but itself. What is it, anyway? Are there worse and better frames for understanding how desire and wonder, exploration and discovery play out in both the brain and in society? How is scientific research like an amble through the woods? What juicy insights bubble up where neuroscientists, historians, philosophers,...

Humans have an unusually long childhood — and an unusually long elderhood past the age of reproductive activity. Why do we spend so much time playing and exploring, caregiving and reflecting, learning and transmitting? What were the evolutionary circumstances that led to our unique life history among the primates? What use is the undisciplined child brain with its tendencies to drift, scatter, and explore in a world that adults und...

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What does it mean to think? What are the traits of thinking systems that we could use to identify them? Different environmental variables call for different strategies in individual and collective cognition — what defines the threshold at which so-called “solid” brains transition into “liquids”? And how might we apply these and related lessons from ecology and evolution to help steward a diverse and thriving future with technology,...

In his foundational 1972 paper “More Is Different,” physicist Phil Anderson made the case that reducing the objects of scientific study to their smallest components does not allow researchers to predict the behaviors of those systems upon reconstruction. Another way of putting this is that different disciplines reveal different truths at different scales. Contrary to long-held convictions that there would one day be one great unify...

What makes us human?  Over the last several decades, the once-vast island of human exceptionalism has lost significant ground to wave upon wave of research revealing cognition, emotion, problem-solving, and tool-use in other organisms. But there remains a clear sense that humans stand apart — evidenced by our unique capacity to overrun the planet and remake it in our image. What is unique about the human mind, and how might we enga...

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The brain is arguably one of the most complex objects known to science. How best to understand it? That is a trick question: brains are organized at many levels and attempts to grasp them all through one approach — be it micro, macro, anatomical, behavioral — are destined to leave out crucial insights. What more, thinking “vertically” across scales, one might miss important angles from another discipline along the “horizontal” axis...

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Communication is a physical process. It’s common sense that sending and receiving intelligible messages takes work…but how much work? The question of the relationship between energy, information, and matter is one of the deepest known to science. There appear to be limits to the rate at which communication between two systems can happen…but the search for a fundamental relationship between speed, error, and energy (among other thin...

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