Many people might not bother to define complexity, thinking that we know it when we see it. Scientists and philosophers have no such luxury. The science of complexity has its roots in physics and mathematics. Today it has developed into a discipline that contributes to all areas of science and, more recently, also to humanities. I will discuss the fundamental concepts of complexity, give some mathematical background, and explore examples in physics, biology, and social science.
Karoline Wiesner is Professor of Complexity Science at the Institute of Physics and Astronomy, Potsdam University, and author of the book What is a Complex System?, published with Yale University Press. The book is most recently discussed on the podcast ’Simplifying Complexity’.