I am interested in finding relationships between ideas from seemingly unrelated systems. A simulation of interaction between particles on the surface of a lattice may gives us an insight about social dynamics. A circuit of mechanical springs might have something to say about the behavior of a protein molecule. Electron transfer between a crystal bulk to an adsorbed particle might explain the relation between our brain and outside world. The list goes on and on.

Now, I am not saying that a system so complex such as humans can be reduced into a collection of particles. Nothing can be further from the truth. What I am trying to say is that there are a lot in common between one system to another.

People who regard themselves as “system thinker” often accuse physicists (such as myself) as “reductionist” because we are using simple models to explain much more complex systems. But when we are working with simple models, we are aware that they are … simple models. And simple models are NOT the representation of the reality that we are trying to study by means of those simple models!

So what do we need those simple models for? Well, complex systems usually have a lot of properties. Some of those properties can actually be modeled by simple models. So if we view simple models as a way to model some properties of the complex system, we can understand how these simple models can be useful. Without forgetting the fact that at the end of the day we still have to deal with the actual complex system.


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