Leopoldina Workshop

Modeling Nature and Society – Can We Control the World?

Date and time


Dorint Hotel am Goethepark, Weimar

The new Leopoldina workshop format Crossing Boundaries in Science is meant to stimulate discussions, without any preconceived views as to their outcome, on trendsetting scientific fields which are particularly dependent on new forms of interdisciplinary cooperation and/or interdisciplinary method transfer. Expected or already emerging social transformations correlated to scientific developments are also meant to be taken into consideration as well as their ethical implications.

The first workshop Modeling Nature and Society – Can We Control the World? will take place in Weimar – the hub of the classical period in German cultural history and the residence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who also conducted significant research in several scientific disciplines. The workshop will focus on scientific modeling of complex biological and social networks and implications for a targeted and strategical intervention in these systems. Workshop topics will be complex systems such as molecular gene networks, the immune system, epidemiological phenomena, traffic dynamics, financial systems or the man-made climate change. These systems and their complexity are hardly intelligible for the individual citizen. Even scientists who try to create models of complex correlations and connections with different approaches in order to understand them and make them more predictable achieve merely limited understanding for many of these systems so far.

This is reflected for example in the rather insufficient knowledge of widespread multifactorial diseases or vague economical predictions regarding the consequences of different approaches in new macroeconomic policies.  Nevertheless, we try to interfere and control these systems repeatedly.

Crossing Boundaries in Science is meant to approach these challenges and discuss the following questions from an interdisciplinary point of view:

  • Which analogue conceptual bases can be used to analyze complex biological and social networks?
  • Which and how many variables are relevant or even reasonable for appropriate modeling and understanding complex systems?
  • Which advantages do simplified reductionist models provide in contrast to far more comprehensive ones (Big Data)?
  • Is science able to deliver reliable instructions for target-oriented strategic intervention in complex cross-linked systems?
  • Which principles of self-organization can be utilized for creating resilient fault-tolerant system architectures (e.g. road traffic and financial systems)?

Please find the programme attached. Registration is possible via this link: www.leopoldina.org/de/crossing-boundaries Participation is free of charge.