Sep 25 – 30, 2023
Protea Hotel King George
Africa/Johannesburg timezone

The interactions of Physics, Environmental, and Developmental Issues: Taking complexity Seriously

Sep 25, 2023, 9:00 AM
Regency Room (Protea Hotel King George)

Regency Room

Protea Hotel King George

Invited Talk Community Engagements General


George Ellis (University of Cape Town)


Physics underlies all that emerges, including ecosystems and societies, and some issues to do with energy usage and global warming have direct relations to physics, as pointed out by Vaclav Smil. However it is not true that one can take simple physics concepts such as some form of thermodynamics or network theory and make policy recommendations on this basis alone. The ecological/social/economic environment is a truly complex system, and any holistic view of physics for sustainable development must take this into account, in particular noting the interacting adaptive modular hierarchical structures one is dealing with and the way that both bottom up emergence and downward causation take place in them via non-linear contextual mechanisms.

Abstract Category Community Engagement

Primary author

George Ellis (University of Cape Town)

Presentation materials