12 North Street Quadrant
Brighton, England BN1 3FA

Philip Ball (Nature)

Are there “laws of society” in the same way as there are laws of physics – inevitable rules that govern the way people behave and organize themselves collectively? And if so, can we use them to find better ways to live? I will show how the social, economic and political sciences stand to benefit from tools and concepts borrowed from a seemingly unlikely source: statistical physics, the science of large numbers of interacting, inanimate particles. I will argue that, in order to understand and perhaps to predict human behaviour, sometimes the social sciences need to worry less about the psychology and idiosyncrasy of individuals and should focus instead on the ways that collective decisions arise spontaneously from interactions between them. These ideas can be applied to phenomena as diverse as traffic flow, economics, voting, and international relations.

7:30 for 8pm start.

Meetings are FREE (although a contribution to expenses is appreciated)

Official Website: http://www.cafe-scientifique-brighton.org.uk/

Added by dallaway on June 5, 2008