By Paul Fieguth

This undergraduate textual content explores numerous large-scale phenomena - worldwide warming, ice a long time, water, poverty - and makes use of those case stories as a motivation to discover nonlinear dynamics, power-law information, and intricate structures. even though the distinct mathematical descriptions of those themes may be not easy, the results of a approach being nonlinear, power-law, or complicated are in truth rather available. This e-book blends an academic method of the mathematical features of complicated platforms including a complementary narrative at the global/ecological/societal implications of such systems.

Nearly all engineering undergraduate classes specialise in arithmetic and structures that are small scale, linear, and Gaussian. regrettably there's not a unmarried large-scale ecological or social phenomenon that's scalar, linear, and Gaussian. This ebook deals scholars insights to raised comprehend the large-scale difficulties dealing with the realm and to gain that those can't be solved through a unmarried, slender educational box or standpoint.

Instead, the ebook seeks to stress figuring out, strategies, and concepts, in a fashion that's mathematically rigorous, in order that the thoughts don't feel imprecise, yet now not so technical that the math get within the means. The booklet is meant for undergraduate scholars in a technical area similar to engineering, laptop technology, physics, arithmetic, and environmental studies.

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**Additional resources for An Introduction to Complex Systems: Society, Ecology, and Nonlinear Dynamics**

**Sample text**

I find the discussion clearer when limited to energy and entropy, however the reader should be aware that these other terms are widely used in the systems/energy literature. 3: Entropy Reduction The second law of thermodynamics tells us that entropy cannot decrease. Consider, then, the process of crystallization: We appear to have a spontaneous reduction in entropy, from disordered (high entropy) to ordered (low entropy)! However, considering a system envelope drawn around the beaker of solute, this is not an isolated system.

Human Body: organs, blood, immune system, bacteria, . . Automobile: drive train, suspension, climate control, lighting, . . Major City: buildings, transportation, businesses, schools, . . so at the very least we want to open our eyes to their presence. 4. Case Study 3: Nutrient Flows, Irrigation, and Desertification Suppose I have an apple tree. Thinking about the system envelope around the tree, can I keep taking apples indefinitely? At some point, don’t I have to put something back? The question of nutrient flows is an important one, and one which can be examined through the context of systems concepts.

It is claimed, therefore, that there is no energy shortage, only a shortage of political will to invest in solar energy. However the 1017 W are exceptionally dilute (effectively a very low TH ), spread over the entire planet (including the oceans). 5. A dilute energy source is simply not equivalent to a concentrated one, even though both represent the same amount of energy. 3) Energy is conserved, but the ability to perform work is not, therefore there is a corresponding increase in entropy S. An equivalent illustration can be offered with a pressure gradient: 1 The ambiguity in definitions of useful or available energy has led to a proliferation of concepts: energy, free-energy, embodied-energy, entropy, emergy, exergy etc.