A Nationally Coordinated Research Network in NORWAY

"Why is the world that surrounds us so complex while the underlying laws of physics are simple?" (Goldenfeld and Kadanoff: Science Vol. 284 p. 87, 2 April 1999)

This fundamental question has vast ramifications. Think of clouds in the sky, spraying waves of the oceans, or an ice rose formed on your window a winter morning: Although the water molecules are simple in shape and interact by simple forces, they can grow into amazingly complex patterns. This illustrates processes that are simple step by step, but when repeated, can result in complexity where; "the whole is different from the sum of its many parts".

Traditionally, science and in particular physics, tries to simplify problems. For example, Newton's laws of motion are deterministic, i.e., we can predict the future of mechanical systems from knowing their present state. Thermodynamics uses ideas of equilibrium, where systems are in their most probable state determined from statistical mechanics.

However, many systems and processes are known to exhibit non-equilibrium and non-stationary behaviour. Their dynamics can seem unpredictable, or have periods of apparent stability punctuated by sudden change, i.e., intermittent behaviour all typical features of soft an complex matter.

Micrometer sized carbon cone- and plate particles


Pattern formed during drainage of a fluid-particle system


Birefringent nematic textures in a clay


Neutron scattering images of nanostructures in soft materials


Avalanches of magnetic flux lines in a superconductor


What is COMPLEX?

The strongest research groups in complex matter science in Norway are located at the University of Oslo (UiO), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Institute for Energy Technology (IFE).
The scientific achievements of the members of these groups are receiving worldwide recognition.

The COMPLEX network has extensive and worldwide active international collaborations.

We have prepared a popular introduction to Complexity - Systems and Interplays in Nature.