Reinventing the Sacred: Science, Faith and Complexity

July 28, 2008

Stuart Kauffman to present free public lecture at SIAM Conference on the Life Sciences

When & Where
Tuesday, August 5
8:00-9:00 p.m.
Grand Salon AB
Hyatt Regency Montreal

Although the classical view about life is based on template-replicated DNA, alternative theories and experimental work are challenging this conventional notion of the origin of molecular reproduction. In his talk entitled Reinventing the Sacred: Science, Faith and Complexity, Stuart Kauffman of the University of Calgary will speak about his work on the emergence of spontaneous order in self-organized systems and discuss agency, the capacity of organisms to act on their own behalf. Kauffman will present Darwinian pre-adaptations in the earth's biosphere as well as in human economy and culture, and will argue that these cannot be predicted. He will theorize on an alternative to these natural laws of evolution--ceaseless creativity throughout the cosmos. Here, in place of a supernatural "Creator God," Kauffman hopes we can find a sharable and fully natural sacred that can be seen as divine. This free public lecture is being held as part of the 2008 SIAM Conference on the Life Sciences. A reception will follow the lecture.

Stuart A. Kauffman is the founding director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics at The University of Calgary and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Originally a medical doctor, Dr. Kauffman's primary work has been as a theoretical biologist studying the origin of life and molecular organization. Thirty-five years ago, he developed the Kauffman models, which are random networks exhibiting a kind of self-organization that he terms "order for free." Dr. Kauffman was the founding general partner and chief scientific officer of The Bios Group, a company (acquired in 2003 by NuTech Solutions) that applies the science of complexity to business management problems. His most recent book is called Reinventing the Sacred.

The Fields Institute and the Centre de Recherches Mathematicques will sponsor the 2008 SIAM Public Lecture on the Life Sciences, held during the 2008 SIAM Conference on the Life Sciences, August 4-7 in Montreal, Quebec. This free event encourages public appreciation of the excitement and vitality of applied mathematics by reaching out as broadly as possible to students, teachers, and members of the local community, as well as researchers and practitioners in the fields of applied mathematics and the life sciences. A reception will immediately follow the public lecture in the adjoining foyer. Both the lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

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