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Self-Organisation in Nonequilibrium Systems: Towards A Dynamics of Complexity

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Complex behaviour made its appearance in the physical sciences in a modest, low-key fashion. For a long time, in the mind of most physicists and chemists, complexity was associated with biological order and its multiple manifestations, for example at the level of evolution, embryogenesis and population dynamics. Physical sciences on the other side were aiming at a description of nature in terms of laws of universal validity. And to this end they were utilising simple models to which, hopefully, the description of more complicated systems could be reduced. This feeling has been repreatedly expressed by some of the greatest scientists of our century. Thus, for Einstein “the physicist must content himself with describing the most simple events which can be brought within the domain of our experience; all events of a more complex order are beyond the power of the human intellect to reconstruct with the subtle accuracy and logical perfection which the theoretical physicist demands …. The general laws on which the structure of theoretical physics is based claim to be valid for any natural phenomenon whatsoever.


  • Complex Behaviour
  • Physical Science
  • Nonequilibrium System
  • Human Intellect
  • Deterministic Evolution

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© 1985 D. Reidel Publishing Company

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Prigogine, I., Nicolis, G. (1985). Self-Organisation in Nonequilibrium Systems: Towards A Dynamics of Complexity. In: Hazewinkel, M., Jurkovich, R., Paelinck, J.H.P. (eds) Bifurcation Analysis. Springer, Dordrecht.

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