© 2018

The Swings of Science

From Complexity to Simplicity and Back


  • Provides an unconventional, personal and entertaining account of the emergence of modern physics, in particular complexity science

  • Includes autobiographical elements and personal reminiscences

  • Puts the development of science into a social context


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Len Pismen
    Pages 1-23
  3. Len Pismen
    Pages 25-40
  4. Len Pismen
    Pages 41-58
  5. Len Pismen
    Pages 59-72
  6. Len Pismen
    Pages 73-88
  7. Len Pismen
    Pages 89-108
  8. Len Pismen
    Pages 109-122
  9. Len Pismen
    Pages 123-134
  10. Len Pismen
    Pages 135-160
  11. Len Pismen
    Pages 161-174
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 175-190

About this book


This book is a personal account of some aspects of the emergence of modern science, mostly from the viewpoint of those branches of physics which provided the much needed paradigm shift of "more is different" that heralded the advent of complexity science as an antidote to the purely reductionist approach in fundamental physics. It is also about the humans that have helped to shape these developments, including personal reminiscences and the realization that the so-called exact sciences are inevitably also a social endeavour with all its facets.

Served by the razor-sharp wit of the author, this erudite ramble is meant to be neither comprehensive nor systematic, but its generous insights will give the inquisitive academically trained mind a better understanding of what science, and physics in particular, could or should be about.


More is different History of modern physics Patterns in science Science as a social endeavour History of complexity science from complexity to simplicity and back science from complexity to simplicity

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringTechnion Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael

About the authors

Len Pismen is professor emeritus at Israel Institute of Technology where he held the Julius M. and Bernice Naiman Chair in Fluid Mechanics.
He has published two monographs - Vortices in Nonlinear Fields: From liquid crystals to superfluids, From non-equilibrium patterns to cosmic strings (Oxford University Press, 1999), Patterns and Interfaces in Dissipative Dynamics (Springer, 2006) - and is member of the editorial board of The European Physical Journal Special Topics .

Bibliographic information