Emergence: A unifying theme for 21st century science

David Pines (Minesh Bacrania Photography)
From complex interactions of matter and energy arise the emergent properties of our universe, including the formation of stars such as this cosmic nebula with a neutron star. (Dreamstime.com)
Flocking, the collective motion of many birds in flight, is an emergent behavior arising from individuals following simple rules without central coordination or leadership.
Nanowires, like these grown by depositing atoms on a silicon crystal, are among new manmade materials with emergent properties. (U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology)
The Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989 arose from widespread grievances about inflation, limited career prospects, and corruption of Communist party elites. At the height of the protests, about a million people assembled in the Square. (APImages.com)
Snowflakes (Credit: Wilson Bentley)

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The Santa Fe Institute is an independent research center exploring the frontiers of complex systems science.