Interdisciplinary Seminar in Nonlinear Science

Title: Self-organization and emergent behavior in natural systems: examples from permafrost terrain
Speaker: Brad Werner
Speaker Info: Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Brief Description:
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Landscapes are complicated in that they are composed of a broad range of interacting physical, chemical and biological components. Landscapes are simple in that they occupy a miniscule fraction of possible states. Traditional approaches to modeling landscapes have focused on either detailed descriptions (reductionism) or the essence of landscapes shared by many diverse systems (universality). I will discuss a new approach meant to reconcile the simple and complicated aspects of landscapes, as well as these two traditional methodologies, based on the observation that landscape dynamics breaks up into a hierarchy of behaviors characterized by discrete, separated time scales for reactions to perturbations. I will argue that there is no causal relationship between the dynamics of one level of the hierarchy and another, and therefore that models should be constructed using variables and dynamics at the time scale of the landform of interest. These concepts are illustrated using landforms in polar regions, with a focus on ice-wedge networks and thaw lake terrain.
Date: Friday, June 6, 2003
Time: 2:00PM
Where: Tech M416
Contact Person: Aaron Packman
Contact email: a-packman@northwestern.edu
Contact Phone: 847-491-9902
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