II. Planetary Prodigy: A Global Sapiensphere Learns by Her/His Own Self
1. International Conferences
Ising Lectures – 2017. http://www.icmp.lviv.ua/ising/index.html. As the 20th Annual Workshop on Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena under the esteemed German-Jewish (as he is known) mathematical physicist Ernst Ising (1990-1998). It occurs in June in the ancient western Ukraine cultural city of Lviv, close to southern Poland. The presentations this year by senior European scientists include The Search for Universality in Finite-Size Scaling by Ralph Kenna (search), The Fate of Ernst Ising and the Fate of His Model by Thomas Ising (son), along with Reinhard Folk, Bertrand Berche, and Yurij Holovatch (search). From the page, as for previous years, an extended abstract can be accessed for each speaker. The Abstract below is from Tom Ising, and is also posted at arXiv:1706.01764. And one cannot help notice the contrast of such learned wisdom amid a land so beset by tragic violence.
On this, the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the "Ising Lectures" in Lviv (Ukraine), we give some personal reflections about the famous model that was suggested by Wilhelm Lenz for ferromagnetism in 1920 and solved in one dimension by his PhD student, Ernst Ising, in 1924. That work of Lenz and Ising marked the start of a scientific direction that, over nearly 100 years, delivered extraordinary successes in explaining collective behaviour in a vast variety of systems, both within and beyond the natural sciences. The broadness of the appeal of the Ising model is reflected in the variety of talks presented at the Ising lectures over the past two decades but requires that we restrict this report to a small selection of topics. The paper starts with some personal memoirs of Thomas Ising (Ernst's son). We then discuss the history of the model, exact solutions, experimental realisations, and its extension to other fields.
ISIS Summit Vienna 2015. http://summit.is4is.org/about. . A biannual conference by the International Society for Information Studies to be held in June at Vienna University. Its title is The Information Society at the Crossroads: Response and Responsibility of the Sciences of Information. Within its compass of science, philosophy, ethics, and sustainable societies, a pantheon of theorists and activists such as Soren Brier, Rafael Capurro, John Collier, Terrence Deacon, Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, Luciano Floridi, Francis Heylighen, Wolfgang Hofkirchner, Pedro Marijuan, Katharine Sarikakis, Gunther Witzany (talk abstract below), and others will convene and contribute over four days.
The aim of the International Society for Information Studies (ISIS) summit is to bring together different communities that research into information (which shall be understood just as a generic term for cognition, communication, co-operation; data, knowledge, wisdom; intelligence; and the whole diversity of related terms), develop or implement applications of their findings (be they technological or social) or use those applications. That is, not only representatives of different disciplines meet but also the latter meet with different stakeholders. The summit shall help discuss the betterment of society. Thus it is an endeavour in transdisciplinarity.
ISSOL and Bioastronomy Joint International Conference. http://www.origins2011.univ-montp2.fr. The International Astrobiology Society and International Astronomical Union (IAU C51) met together in Montpellier, France in July 2011 to explore frontiers of mindful life’s quest to find from whence, how, and why it came to so be. Typical sections were: Origins: From Stars to Life, Biosignatures, Early Earth Processes, Habitable Exoplanets, Early and Minimal Life, Prebiotic Chemistry, and Evolutionary Vistas. Among many speakers were Nobel Laureates Ada Yonath and Christian de Duve, David Deamer, Addy Pross, Sara Seager, John Sutherland, Gerda Horneck, and Simon Conway Morris, namely key researchers and imagineers. While not their charge, by any natural philosophy reflection one cannot help but witness a steadily deepening encounter with and realization of a greater genesis universe. By some negotiation, full videos of many lectures can be accessed at: http://www.youtube.com/user/innovaxiom#p/u.
Ist Earth-Life Science Institute International Symposium. www.titech.ac.jp/english/file/pr20130322_elsi_en.pdf. The Earth-Life Science Institute is a new 2012 endeavor of the Tokyo Institute of Technology to advance the burgeoning study of “Bioplanets in the Universe.” It is director is geobiologist Kei Hirose, Princeton physicist Piet Hut is assistant director. An initial project is this Conference which attracted, in addition to Japanese scientists, notable researchers such as Lisa Kaltenegger, Robert Hazen, Steven Benner, Antonia Lazcano, and James Cleaves. Typical sessions were Theory of Planetary Formation, Co-Evolution of Earth and Life, Exo-Habitable Planets, and Life in the Universe.
Life in the Universe 2019: Big History, SETI and the Future of Humankind. bighistory.org/2019-life-in-the-universe-conference-information. This mid July conference in Milan, Italy by the International Big History Association has become a resident venue for visionary cosmists. Its preliminary program includes The Singularity in Big History by Andrey Korotayev (search), A History of Cosmic Habitability by Amedeo Balbi, Breakthrough Listen by Andrew Siemion, Energy Rate Density as a Technosignature by Clement Vidal and Evo-SETI: A Methematical Big History by Claudio Maccone.
Big History seeks to understand the integrated history of the Cosmos, Earth, Life, and Humanity, using the best available empirical evidence and scholarly methods. Almost a century ago, scientists gave us a new history of the cosmos by showing that our own galaxy, the Milky Way, was but one of an extraordinary number. In recent decades, scientists have located thousands of potentially habitable planets in just our own galaxy. Scientists at SETI are looking for evidence that there is (intelligent) life beyond Earth. What does it mean to the big history account when the lines from the Big Bang go not only to the Milky Way, Earth, life on Earth, and humanity, but in many other directions as well?
Major Transitions in Human Evolution. royalsociety.org/events/2015/10/major-transitions. At this Royal Society and British Academy meeting in London in October 2015, a central feature will be discussions by Richard Leakey about how Sapiens came to be. It is worth noting in talk titles that the Major Transitions model is often availed as the main evolutionary sequence. Its sessions are: Transition 1: Origins of Home – Technology, Behaviour, and Adaption; Transition 2: Evolution of the Early Human Phenotype; and Transition 3: Tempo and Mode of Modern Humans. Speakers include Richard and Meave Leakey, Sonia Harmand, Chris Stringer, Marta Lahr, and Robert Foley.
The rich human palaeoanthropological record shows an unexpectedly complex pattern in the tempo and mode of human evolution. Evidence for many of the key phases is found in East Africa, and has been shaped by critical discoveries by teams led by Richard Leakey, or work inspired by his finds. The meeting focuses on key evolutionary transitions to understand the interaction of biology, behaviour, culture and environment.
Modeling Complexity in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
The First Annual Conference on Complexity and Human Experience, to be held May 30 – June 1, 2012 at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. We post as another example of the entrance and engagement by every university, college, and institute, it seems, of this revolution to rightly understand a wholly dynamical organic creativity which recapitulates itself at each instance and stage.
The recent increase in the number of formal institutes and conferences dedicated to complexity theory and its application is evidence that complexity science has arrived and is realizing its potential to cut across almost every academic discipline. Research projects centered on complex adaptive systems in the natural (physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) and social sciences (economics, political science, anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc.), along with novel applications in engineering, computer science, robotics, and, more recently, the arts and the humanities (archaeology, art history, history, literature, philosophy, performance art, religion, etc.), have already earned some recognition in the field of complexity science. The initial 2012 conference will be based on an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities (IATDH) sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the UNC Charlotte Complex Systems Institute this past year that was dedicated to computer modeling in the humanities and social sciences.
Nature Events Directory. http://www.nature.com/natureevents/science. This URL is the home page for an international resource calendar of all manner of scientific conferences and meetings. Arranged by Date, Country, and Area, one can see that Life Sciences is the most popular field, over ten times more events than physics or chemistry. A typical item out of some 1,000 listings might be Quantitative Biology: From Genes, Cells to Networks, http://www.csh-asia.org/2014meetings/comp.html, held in Suzhou, China, October 2014, in collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Asia. Speakers include William Bialek and Terence Hwa, with titles as Nonequilibrium Physics for Biochemical Networks, and Long-Range Self-Organization in a Bacterial Colony. Similar to the U Mass Amherst entry below, how might we glimpse a composite learning endeavor going on by its own self-organizing, complex adaptive system self. However might we be able to imagine a revolutionary discovery of a genesis uniVerse?
NetSci2014. www.netsci2014.net. An International School and Conference on Network Science to be held in June at UC Berkeley, slated as “the biggest annual network science show.” An all star cast includes Reka Albert, Mark Newman, Dirk Helbing, Jessica Flack, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, many more. Satellite symposia such as Temporal Networks, Human Dynamics and Social Physics, Complex Networks in Ecology, Urban Systems, and Information and Self-Organizing Dynamics, and Quantum Frontiers (search Faccin) are planned. I post this in May along with the Euro Evo Devo 2014 meeting above, as examples of a robust veracity across every ascendant phase along with their integral assembly, which much augurs for a natural genesis.
Origins: From the Protosun to the First Steps of Life. astronomy2018.univie.ac.at/symposia/symposium345. An International Astronomical Union symposium (IAU 345) held in August 2018 in Vienna. We cite this long URL because it is where Abstracts can be found. An array of global scholars gave talks such as Cosmic Pathways to Life: From Interstellar Molecules to the first Traces of Life by Manuel Gudel, The Early Evolution of Terrestrial Planets by Helmut Lammer, Early Life on Earth by Addy Pross, The Properties of Earth-like Planets by Daniel Apai, and Unveiling the Whole from its Parts by Eduardo Pacheco, Water Inventory from the Jupiter Orbit to the Terrestrial Planets by Marov, Mikhail, and Bio-habitability and Life on Planets of M- to G-type Stars by Amri Wandel. Abstracts for M. Gudel, E. Pacheo, and A. Wandel are next.
This symposium explores the chain of events that could have been involved in the formation of the Sun in the pre-solar galactic environment, planet Earth and the earliest lifeforms on it. On one hand we see the history of consecutive events, on the other hand parallel processes of various scales have been interacting since pre-solar times till today. An abridged topical list is: Galactic environments of the Earth and Sun, Formation of solar–type steps, Evolution of protostellar disks, Physical and chemical conditions in proto–solar nebula, Planetary systems around solar–type stars, Toward building Earth–analogs, and Steps toward habitability & early forms of life. (IAU345 summary)
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Founded and generously funded in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis, CEO, Research in Motion of Blackberry fame, as a world class scientific center located in Canada (Waterloo, Ontario) it has now for a decade quite fulfilled this mission. An original member was the visionary physicist Lee Smolin, who has helped much in achieving an international stature. As a result PI has become a select host for a wide range of conferences; a sample for 2009 would include Holographic Cosmology, The Economic Crisis and its Implications for the Science of Economics, New Prospects for Solving the Cosmological Constant Problem, and Reconstructing Quantum Theory. A dedicated website named Perimeter Institute Recorded Seminar Archive www.pirsa.org has been set up to provide video lecture coverage of each luminous event. One typical talk might be “The Past and Future of the Astrophysical Universe” by Avi Loeb. But all such efforts seem burdened by the vested sterility wherein life, mind, and people, surely examples of emergent complexity (due to gravity?) remain of no account or destiny.
Physics of Behavior. www.aspenphys.org/physicists/summer/program/summer2012. This May to June seminar at the Aspen Center for Physics, organized by Ilya Nemenman, et al, is another good example of the grand family reunion of life with a conducive cosmic and earthly home. But we still need to work on amending the “machinery” metaphor below.
The idea of the workshop stems from the understanding that the role of physics in biology is broad, as physical constraints define the strategies and the biological machinery that living systems use to shape their behavior in the dynamic, noisy, and resource-limited physical world. To date, such holistic, physics-driven picture of behavior has been achieved, arguably, only for bacterial chemotaxis. We would like to broaden the horizons of physicists by inviting experts who quantify behavior of a wide range of model organisms, from molecular circuits to mammals. We would like to explore behavior as possibly optimal responses given the physical and the statistical structure of environment. Our topics will include, in particular, navigation and foraging, active sensing, locomotion and rhythmic behavior, and learning, memory, and adaptive behaviors.