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Still More Famous Systems Scientists/Engineers Brian Duddy.

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Presentation on theme: "Still More Famous Systems Scientists/Engineers Brian Duddy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Still More Famous Systems Scientists/Engineers Brian Duddy

2 Rev. Thomas Malthus  Lived 1766-1834 in England  Originally educated as a reverend at Cambridge, but also got a mathematics degree and was ninth in his class  Became a professor at East India Company College (in England, for high school- aged students); nicknamed “Pop” or “Population” because of the subject of his research  Widely criticized, including personally, from many sources for his work; criticism came from sources as widely spread as Karl Marx and prominent industrialists; however, Darwin and many other proponents of evolution and natural selection took inspiration from him  Some claim that Ebenezer Scrooge was based off of Malthus; in Brave New World, women carried contraceptives in a “Malthus pouch”

3 Work of Malthus His most famous work was “An Essay on the Principle of Population”, which was first published in 1798 and updated several times; it was one of the first works on population theory, was in response to several more utopian writings, and became very influential at the time In it, he puts forward what is now known as the Malthusian growth model: it states that, if unrestricted, population will grow exponentially, i.e. P(t)=P 0 e rt He argues that unrestricted population growth will eventually lead to lower wages and a lack of food for the people; he compares the situation to a party where unexpected guests show up, so there is not enough food for everyone He proposed ideas which would later form the basis for eugenics, but also advocated for “moral restraint” (celibacy or postponement of marriage) to reduce population growth

4 Edward Lorenz  1917-2008; spent most of his life in U.S.  Studied math at Dartmouth and Harvard before WW2; during it, was a weather forecaster for the U.S. Air Force, and later received degrees in meterology  Professor at MIT from 1955; professor emeritus from 1987 until his death, and reportedly finished a paper a week before his death  Awarded several major prizes: Crafoord Prize, Kyoto Prize, Buys Ballot medal, Lomonosov medal  Known as avid hiker and cross-country skier, and reportedly active well into his 80s  He was one of the first to work with mathematical weather models, starting in 1960

5 Work of Lorenz Best known for chaos theory, i.e. the “butterfly effect”, which shows how very small changes to a system can create huge final differences In 1961, he attempted to re-check some of the results of his weather model by re-entering the data. However, for one value, to save time he entered 0.506 instead of the true value, 0.506127. He was shocked to find that the sequences eventually diverged wildly As this value was less than the error of most instruments, this essentially proved that deterministic weather forecasting was impossible In 1963 he wrote a paper on the subject which attracted little attention; one presented at a conference in 1972, titled “Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”, attracted more and gave the name to the “butterfly effect”

6 Andrey Korotayev  Born 1961 in Russia  B.A. and M.A. from Moscow State University; Ph.D at University of Manchester  Currently professor at Russian State University for the Humanities; editor of two journals relating to mathematical modeling  Major work in cliodynamics (from Clio, the Greek muse of history)- multidisciplinary research focused on mathematical modeling of historical systems  Proponent of “World System” (showing economic, cultural interactions between entire world) even in 9 th century BC

7 Work of Korotayev Works on a variety of somewhat connected subjects including population modeling, cultural studies, world religions, and the history of Yemen He suggested a hyperbolic population model, i.e. P(t)=C/( t 0 -t); C is a constant, t 0 represents a “singularity point” at which population would theoretically become infinite. Values (in millions): C=215000, t 0 =2027 worked very well until around 1970 For the GDP (gross domestic product) he has proposed a quadratic-hyperbolic model, i.e. G(t)=C/( t 0 -t) 2 ; this diverged at around the same point, as a singularity (infinite GDP) would have occurred in 2005 He has also applied mathematical models to matrilocal residence, i.e. predicting (through history) whether married couples live near the wife’s family or the husband’s family

8 Anatol Rapoport  1911-2007; born in Russia, moved to America and became a citizen in 1928  Trained as a pianist in Germany, but left due to the rise of the Nazis; got a Ph.D in mathematics in 1941, then served in the Air Force during WW2  Professor at University of Michigan and University of Chicago; wrote several books, including some intended for a more general audience  Cofounder and later president of Society for General Systems Research  Became a pacifist after World War II; started the trend of “teach-ins” to protest the Vietnam War

9 Work of Rapoport Lots of famous work in game theory; invented the famous “Tit for Tat” strategy which has won nearly every prisoner’s dilemma “contest” ever held The “Tit for Tat” strategy is extremely simple: if the opponent cooperated on the last turn, it cooperates; if the opponent betrayed on the last turn, it betrays. Despite its extreme simplicity and the fact that it has been public knowledge since 1980, no strategy has yet been developed that does better on average against a wide variety of opponents Also did early work on general systems theory (systems applicable to a wide variety of disciplines) and social networks

10 Howard Odum  1924-2002 in U.S.; brother of Eugene Odum, one of the first ecologists  BA in zoology at UNC, Ph.D at Yale in 1950; published papers while still an undergraduate  His thesis was on the worldwide circulation of the element strontium, which led to discussions on the entire Earth as one big system (i.e. the ecosystem, a fairly new concept at the time)  He was said to have won every major prize awarded for ecology, including the Crafoord Prize, said to be almost at the level of the Nobel Prize (it is awarded in other areas)  He worked in many areas; he was said to have published the first significant paper in six different subjects (most relating to ecology)

11 Work of Odum  He often compared the ecosystem to other types of systems; for example, he suggested laws of flows through ecosystems comparable to those governing the flow of electricity  He invented a system of diagrams for describing ecosystems, “Energy Systems Language”, that is somewhat similar to stock and flow diagrams; it has been adapted to be usable in multiple disciplines  He led the first complete systems analysis of a natural ecosystem, the “Silver Spring” stream in Florida  He measured every energy input into the stream-even food thrown into it by tourists-and from this was able to construct a model of the flow of energy within the stream

12 References Malthus: Lorenz:, or-Edward-Lorenz.html, or-Edward-Lorenz.html Korotayev:, Rapaport: Two-Person Game Theory by Rapaport,, Odum:,

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