6 Fundamental “Uncertainty” in Science

  • Linda E. Reichl
Section III Differing Views of Uncertainty and Surprise
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


The conference on “Uncertainty and Surprise” was concerned with our fundamental inability to predict future events. How can we restructure organizations to effectively function in an uncertain environment? One concern is that many large complex organizations are built on mechanical models, but mechanical models cannot always respond well to “surprises.” An underlying assumption a bout mechanical models is that, if we give them enough information about the world, they will know the future accurately enough that there will be few or no surprises. The assumption is that the future is basically predictable and deterministic.


Solar System Chaotic System Chemical System Newtonian Mechanic Newtonian Dynamic 
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Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda E. Reichl
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Studies in Statistical Mechanics and Complex Systems, The University of Texas at Austin 

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