Complex Systems – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Niels Bohr Institute > Research > Biophysics > Complex Systems

Complex Systems

Communication is crucial for life – from the biochemical network of the chemical messengers of the cells to social transport- and information network of our society. Networks are complicated – just think of the infinite pathways of the internet, but by developing dynamic computer models research can solve the structure of the connecting links. 


There are complex networks everywhere. The power supply is distributed in networks and we have transport networks and telephone connecting networks. On the internet information is spread in a gigantic worldwide network, and we have connection to a network of people that all know someone that knows someone that knows someone else.

It looks like chaos and coincidences, but by developing dynamic computer models researchers can solve the structure of the connecting links; they have found out that all the many different kinds of networks have common properties of the fundamental structure – from worldwide communication networks all the way down to the network of signal matter of the cells.

Models of turbulence of fluids are also created by the researchers. When a fluid passes through a narrow passage turbulence occur creating whirls, and when liquid is warmed up bobbles are created. It looks chaotic, coincidental and disorganised but it proves to be an organised confusion and using mathematical models the researchers can figure out the order of the chaos. This kind of insight into the dynamics of fluid and turbulence is extremely important for weather forecasting for instance. The chaos theories can even provide information about the share prices in the financial markets.

Sono luminescence is a form of light that tiny air bobbles emit in the surrounding fluid when they collapse. But where does it come from and what is it? Could it for instance be fusion of atomic particles inside the bobble? – Could the molecules of life have developed on the edge of a shining bobble? This is what the physicists are trying to solve.