A study of simple non-equilibrium statistical physics models : molecular motors and traffic jams (thesis)
Traditionally, the objective of science has been to understand the fundamental simplicity and elegance of the laws of nature. The advancement of the human race has for a long time been predicated on the scientific discovery of the rules by which the underlying forces of nature and society operate. Every facet of our modern day lifestyle, from our ability to drive cars, build skyscrapers, create medicines for illness and connect with people from across the globe, relies on our understanding of the basic principles of every field from physics and biology to economics and political science. Never in the history of the world has the human race had such a wide-ranging and deep understanding of society, nature, and the universe as a whole. However, as we have pushed the boundaries of scientific discovery outward it has become readily apparent that our bodies, society and nature all exhibit complex behaviors that cannot be explained without considering the interactions of their constituent elements as part of a larger system. The study of complex systems is an exciting and new interdisciplinary science which has lead to novel insights into the beautiful and complex behavior of the natural world; it is the leading edge of 21st century scientific investigation. The accumulation of scientific knowledge, as well as technological advancements, has finally made the study of complex systems accessible. However, the field itself is as intricate and diverse as the systems which it seeks to understand. While there are general concepts and goals that form the theoretical underpinning of complex systems analysis, there also exists a great amount of variation in the types of systems under investigation and in the methods available for doing so. The study of complex systems requires a strong grounding in both mathematical and analytic techniques as well as the design and engineering of experimental simulations, which would be impossible without the aid of modem day computing systems. As more and more investigators from every academic field begin to move into the realm of complex systems our understanding of the world will be dramatically enriched and altered. New discoveries and possibilities for the advancement of science, technology and society as a whole will emerge from the efforts and achievements of those scientists who work collaboratively to uncover the mysterious dynamics of complex systems.
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Joshua Alejandro Gonzalez is a member of the Class of 2010 of Washington and Lee University.