F37.00005. Something from (almost) nothing: complex lessons from simplicity

Presented by: Nigel Goldenfeld


I describe the use of minimal renormalization-group inspired/justified models in non-equilibrium statistical physics and biology. Using examples chosen from my own work in pattern formation, turbulence and biology, I point out that minimal models are able to make specific parameter-free predictions of appropriately-chosen experimental quantities, an outcome of universality in somewhat surprising settings. I argue that these considerations account for the unreasonable effectiveness of theoretical physics in describing seemingly complex phenomena. *My work has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for 34 years, and by other agencies of the US government including NASA, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. I am grateful for their long-term support.


  • Nigel Goldenfeld


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