Presentation on theme: "WHY COMPLEXITY IN NATURE LEADS TO MANY CAREERS FOR PHYSICISTS Dr Graham S McDonald Head of Materials & Physics Research Centre University of Salford KS4."— Presentation transcript:
WHY COMPLEXITY IN NATURE LEADS TO MANY CAREERS FOR PHYSICISTS Dr Graham S McDonald Head of Materials & Physics Research Centre University of Salford KS4 Teachers Conference MMU June 2010
OUTLINE Motivation challenges "Complexity" – what is it ? – subject / career areas ? – how can it work ? Hands-on demos / projects (note: flashing lights in videos) Key Stage 4 relevance
Motivation challenges … Career possibilities ? … Relevance to modern society ? … Just technical ? Boys' subject versus attractions of biology, environment, health & 'helping people' … What can be hands-on in class ? … Links to modern multi-media ?
Complexity - what is it ? … a subject bridging across diverse fields … common aspects identified, due to similar processes … transferring knowledge and techniques between these diverse fields
edited version of image at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity Complexity - subject / career areas ? dynamics fractals & chaos ecology, climate & society Nature's patterns & evolution networks, society, globalism, internet biology + engineering robotics artificial intelligence & smart technologies cells, genetics, chemistry, artificial life, information technologies, business decisions, political decisions Alan Turing
People as particles e.g. £10 Million for EPSRC's 2009 call: "Complexity Science for the Real World" Catastrophe, risk, robustness and recovery – resilience of societal systems Self-sustaining communities, … Demographics – … immigration; …the workforce; … pensions, … geography … activity Importance investment jobs & careers
For example, Similar processes in very complicated ("complex") systems tend to result in … 1. SIMPLE PATTERNS or 2. VERY COMPLEX PATTERNS (fractals) Complexity - how can it work ?
Kaleidoscopes as a sub-project … David Brewster (born 1781) J Walker, The Amateur scientist, Sci Am 253, 124 (1985) two-mirror Kaleidoscope
3-mirror kaleidoscope J Walker, The Amateur scientist, Sci Am 253, 124 (1985)
Key Stage 4 relevance ORC Year 10 ORC Year 11 P1 - Energy for the Home (stable Earth) P2 - Living for the Future (threats to Earth) } Wide range of potential analyses and technologies arising from Complexity P1 - Forces for Transport (speed, energy, forces) 'Nonlinear Dynamics' is a generalisation of these key concepts, also involving pendula, springs, masses, oscillations, etc. Time to resurrect the computer applets for pattern formation, fractals and chaos ? P2 - Living for the Future (threats to Earth) topics … Electricity, Ultrasound, Medical Applications, … Could open up discussion areas for artificial intelligence, robotics, living forms, etc.
Conclusion Stephen Hawking prediction: this 21 st century will be the century of complexity