Joint Symposium

organized by the divisions of Nonlinear Dynamics and Statistical Physics, Biological Physics and Physics of Socio-Economic Systems

Complex Systems transcend the disciplines from the Physical across the Bio- and Life- to the Social sciences and include brains, genomes, immune systems, societies, markets and information systems. They are characterized by collective, time-dependent phenomena emerging from the dynamic interplay of a large number of heterogeneous constituents. These phenomena cannot be reduced to or explained by the properties of the constituents alone and their understanding poses a number of challenging problems.

Currently, research is to a great extent data-driven. Scientists are still searching for the relevant parameters to describe and model complex systems. Both the collection of meaningful datasets for their description as well as new methodological approaches for their analysis are needed before meaningful models can be constructed.

Spotlighting these challenges, the symposium aims at bringing together researchers from various disciplines working on complex systems. It intends to expose physicists to the phenomena and pressing problems awaiting a solution as well as to disseminate recent progress made in the understanding of complex systems by physicists or using methodologies rooted in physics.

Invited Speakers

As of Dec. 10, 2008

  • "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: The Spread of Health Phenomena in Complex, Longitudinally Resolved Social Networks"
    Nicolas A. Christakis, Harvard University, Boston, USA
  • "Physics of Recommendation Mechanisms"
    Yi-Cheng Zhang, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • "Clustering, Chance, and Statistical Mechanics"
    Johannes Berg, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • "Clustering and Multiscale Structure of Graphs"
    Boaz Nadler, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel
  • "From Genetic Variability between Species to the Inference of Protein-Protein Interactions"
    Martin Weigt, Institute for Scientific Interchange, Torino, Italy
  • "Transport Efficiency and Resilience in Mycelial Networks"
    Mark Fricker, Oxford University, UK

Conference and Venue

The German Physical Society has over 55,000 members and is the largest physical society in the world. The spring meetings such as the one in Dresden in 2009 are among the largest conferences in Germany with close to 2000 contributions. They are a kind of general meeting where researchers from junior to senior level meet and present their work. They open the stage for an active discussion of the latest hot topics. Next year, the spring meeting will take place at the Technical University of Dresden from March 22-28 2009. For more information, see the conference homepage.

Together with the plenary talks, the Joint Symposia are the keystone events of the conference as they gather a large and diverse audience united by the interest in one particular topic. During a single day, a small number of selected speakers addresses a focussed topic that is believed to be or become a major research focus in the years to come. The symposium 2009 continues a successful series of symposia jointly organized by the divisions of Dynamical Systems, Biological Physics and the focus group Physics of Socio-Economic Systems. The past years were devoted to:

Apart from being a wonderful venue for scientific conferences, Dresden is also among the most beautiful cities in Germany. You may find some impressions of the city here.


  • Jörg Reichardt, University of Würzburg, Germany,
    on behalf of the Focus Group Physics of Socio-Economic Systems of the DPG
  • Thilo Gross, Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany,
    on behalf of the Biological Physics Division of the DPG
  • Holger Kantz, Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany,
    on behalf of the Division Non-Linear Dynamics and Statistical Physics of the DPG