This article explores how constructor theory may be able to provide answers to the questions posed in the first part of the article.
From flocks of starlings to spiral galaxies: this article explores examples of emergent phenomena in nature.
Many things in nature seem to be striving for a purpose — the carefully choreographed flocking of birds is an example. Are these birds really smart enough to follow a common goal? Find out with these articles.
Find out how a square grid and some simple rules can generate complex patterns and life-like behaviour.
Why are drug induced hallucinations so compelling that they apparently provided much of the inspiration for early forms of abstract art? Researchers suggest that the answer hinges on an interplay between the mathematics of pattern formation and a mechanism that generates a sense of value and meaning.
On the face of it the Universe is a fairly complex place. But could mathematics ultimately lead to a simple description of it? In fact, should simplicity be a defining feature of a "theory of everything"? We ponder the answers.
A traditional view of science holds that every system — including ourselves — is no more than the sum of its parts. To understand it, all you have to do is take it apart and see what's happening to the smallest constituents. But the mathematician and cosmologist George Ellis disagrees. He believes that complexity can arise from simple components and physical effects can have non-physical causes, opening a door for our free will to make a difference in a physical world.
One of the amazing things about life is its sheer complexity. How can a bunch of mindless cells combine to form something as complex as the human brain, or as delicate, beautiful and highly organised as the patterns on a butterfly's wing? Maths has some surprising answers you can explore yourself with this interactive activity.