Geoffrey B. West
Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, USA
Size matters! Growth, Innovation and the Pace of Life: is it Sustainable?
A general framework that has been successfully developed for understanding "universal" scaling laws across an extraordinarily wide spectrum of biological phenomena from cells to ecosystems will be extended to social organisations in an attempt to reveal general principles of organization, structure and dynamics. Almost all physiological traits, including fundamental quantities such as metabolic rates, lifespans, growth and evolutionary rates, scale as simple power laws whose exponents are typically simple multiples of 1/4. These have their origin in generic physical and geometric properties of the networks that sustain life, leading to a general quantitative, predictive theory that captures the essential features of many diverse biological systems.