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Fifty years of ‘More is different’

A Publisher Correction to this article was published on 15 July 2022

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August 1972 saw the publication of Philip Anderson’s essay ‘More is different’. In it, he crystallized the idea of emergence, arguing that “at each level of complexity entirely new properties appear” — that is, although, for example, chemistry is subject to the laws of physics, we cannot infer the field of chemistry from our knowledge of physics. Fifty years on from this landmark publication, eight scientists describe the most interesting phenomena that emerge in their fields.

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Authors and Affiliations



Steven Strogatz

Steven Strogatz is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University. He works on nonlinear dynamics and complex systems applied to physics, biology and the social sciences. His 1998 Nature paper ‘Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks’, co-authored with his former student Duncan Watts, ranks among the top 100 most-cited scientific papers of all time.

Sara Walker

Sara Walker is an astrobiologist and physicist researching origins of life and universal laws that might allow us to find examples elsewhere. She is an Associate Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Deputy Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University, and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

Julia M. Yeomans

Julia M. Yeomans FRS is Professor of Theoretical Physics and Head of the Rudolf Peierls Centre at the University of Oxford. She applies techniques from theoretical and computational physics to problems in soft condensed matter and biophysics. Her current research interests include active matter and mechanobiology. She has been awarded the EPJE-de Gennes Lecture Prize, the Sam Edwards Prize of the Institute of Physics and the Lennard–Jones Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Julia has four daughters and enjoys hiking and orienteering.

Corina Tarnita

Corina Tarnita is a Professor in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Previously she was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. She obtained her BA and PhD in Mathematics from Harvard University. Corina studies the emergence of complex biological properties out of simple interactions, across spatiotemporal scales.

Elsa Arcaute

Elsa Arcaute is a Professor of Complexity Science at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London. She holds a masters and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge. Her initial research within complexity science explored self-organization in ant colonies. For the past 10 years, her research has focussed on cities, and urban systems in general.

Manlio De Domenico

Manlio De Domenico is a complexity scientist and professor of physics at the University of Padua. He works on statistical physics of complex networks and nonlinear dynamics, with special focus on systems of systems, information dynamics and geometry, and on the emergence of functional behaviour from the interplay between structure and dynamics in biophysical, socio-ecological and socio-technological systems.

Oriol Artime

Oriol Artime is a postdoctoral researcher at Bruno Kessler Foundation in Italy. He works on topics at the interface between statistical physics and complex systems, from classical problems such as phase transitions and first-passage processes to modern applications of network science. He has a bent for innovative interdisciplinary challenges and, when possible, seeks to orientate his research in those directions.

Kwang-Il Goh

Kwang-Il Goh is a professor of physics at Korea University, interested in statistical physics of complex networks. Following a major itinerary from scale-free networks and multiplex networks to higher-order networks, his main research has focussed on finding and applying emerging singularities in complex networked systems and their physics implications, using simple, physics-flavoured models and dynamical processes.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Steven Strogatz, Sara Walker, Julia M. Yeomans, Corina Tarnita, Elsa Arcaute, Manlio De Domenico, Oriol Artime or Kwang-Il Goh.

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Strogatz, S., Walker, S., Yeomans, J.M. et al. Fifty years of ‘More is different’. Nat Rev Phys 4, 508–510 (2022).

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