Evolving Networks in Matter and Mind

Monday, April 18, 2022 - 4:15pm
University of Pennsylvania
Public Lecture: 

Abstract: Networks exist in both physical and conceptual spaces. Those networks can be treated as static and fixed, but in many cases evolve appreciably over a variety of time scales. In this talk, I will discuss the evolution of networks in matter and mind. I will separate my comments into three main sections. First, I will discuss principles by which to design mechanical networks that undergo precise, and pre-defined conformational changes (Kim et al. 2019 Nature Physics; Kim et al. 2022 Phys Rev X, In Press). Second, I will discuss connections between networks of matter and networks of mind, and relations among physical and conceptual spaces (Zurn & Bassett, forthcoming from MIT Press). Third, I will discuss an empirical study of evolving networks of mind, as manifest in how scientists cite the work of other scientists in the reference lists of their peer-reviewed papers (Teich et al. 2022 arXiv, and others), including relative imbalances in how we cite the work of gender, racial, and ethnic minorities. Collectively, the work will provide a conceptual framework for understanding evolving networks in matter and mind, with important implications for our understanding of our physical world and the processes of scientific inquiry.