ECCS '12 Brussels - European Conference on Complex Systems ECCS'12 Complex Systems Society

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Manfred Eigen
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany

Manfred Eigen is an emeritus director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. His research on chemical kinetics helped to establish molecular elementary processes on which the physical and chemical characteristics of biological matter are based, thus laying the foundation for a new dynamic biochemistry. In 1967, Eigen was awarded, along with Ronald Norrish and George Porter, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They were distinguished for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions induced in response to very short pulses of energy. Eigen's name is linked with the theory of the prebiotic self organization (1971) and also with the model and theory of chemical quasispecies and hypercycles (the latter described with Peter Schuster in 1977).

Complexity in Biology

The lecture will deal mainly with biological complexity. Is there a physical law behind natural selection? Yes there is, and the law can even be formulated in mathematical terms. The law does not apply to physical space but rather to what we call information space. The main problems are dimensionality and natural selection, which can be expressed as phase transition in multidimensional space. The partly unexpected results will be compared with other multidimensional physical phenomena, last not least with the question:

Why do we live in a three dimensional world?