What's up in

complex systems

Photo of Corina Tarnita 520px

A Mathematician Who Decodes the Patterns Stamped Out by Life

Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms.

complex systems

Nature’s Critical Warning System

Scientists are homing in on a warning signal that arises in complex systems like ecological food webs, the brain and the Earth’s climate. Could it help prevent future catastrophes?

complex systems

The New Laws of Explosive Networks

Researchers are uncovering the hidden laws that reveal how the Internet grows, how viruses spread, and how financial bubbles burst.

statistical physics

At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law

A potent theory has emerged explaining a mysterious statistical law that arises throughout physics and mathematics.

A living bridge.

The Remarkable Self-Organization of Ants

Knowing the rules behind ant-made structures could help scientists understand how other complex systems emerge in nature.


A Fundamental Theory to Model the Mind

Support is growing for a decades-old physics idea suggesting that localized episodes of disordered brain activity help keep the overall system in healthy balance.

Data Driven: The New Big Science

The Mathematical Shape of Things to Come

Scientific data sets are becoming more dynamic, requiring new mathematical techniques on par with the invention of calculus.


Treading Softly in a Connected World

In an increasingly interconnected world, scientists are seeking safeguards against catastrophic cascades of failure like stock market crashes and widespread blackouts.


In Mysterious Pattern, Math and Nature Converge

All complex correlated systems, from Arctic melt ponds to the Internet, appear to be governed by the same math as a random matrix.