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GLOSSARY
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A Note to the Reader

The capability of the Google search engine, along with content on the Internet, has grown to such an extent that these glossary terms and any other can be typed in this way: "define fractal," and so on. This will access the vast online online scientific and academic encyclopedias, dictionaries and web postings.

Adaptive

An agent such as an organism may both adapt to and alter its environment through bodily and behavioral means.

Agent-Based Modeling

Another phrase for self-organizing complex adaptive systems which emphasizes the activity of independent agents such as people that are in constant creative dialogue with each other.

Algorithm

A set of defined mathematical rules which specify a sequence of steps to be carried out for a procedure such as solving a problem or performing an activity.

Allele

A sequence of DNA genetic material contained within chromosomes which is alleomorphic or structurally related to other sequences.

Allometric

The quantatitive growth and size of one part of an organism in relation to the whole.

Altruism

Unselfish behavior for someone else’s benefit, often at an expense to oneself, but which is of value to a larger social group.

Amino Acid

One of the 20 molecular components of proteins. Each contains an amino group at one end and a carboxyl group at the other.

Anthropic Principle

A theory that the presence of human beings constrains the numerical parameters the universe can have. It the comes in 2 levels: the weak anthropic principle holds that the universe is the way it is because we are here; the strong version asserts that the universe was made to evolve into humans.

Archetype

In biology, a universal bodily form for organisms and in psychology, a psychic attractor state which shapes ones personality.

Astrobiology

The study of and search for life elsewhere in the solar system and cosmos.

Attractor

A region or state with fractal properties toward which a complex system moves and settles into.

Autocatalytic

The process whereby networks such as biochemical reactions sustain their own self-propagation without an external influence.

Autopoiesis

A term for the ability of living systems to recursively referr to their own internal description so as to organize and maintain themselves.

Axon

Fibrous connections in a brain that carry signals between neurons.