Roger Eugene Hill
The life, career, scientific and spiritual insights of a physicist plus a few excursions into Complexity Science and Art.
REH
--
With Louise. Tent Rocks,
New Mexico. Dec 2016.




















               Welcome to Roger's Site.

I am an experimental physicist (Ph.D, UC Berkeley, 1964) retired from active employment but still trying to make sense out of what I have learned and continue to learn from the discoveries of science and from personal experience.

Part of the process that led to this website was my interest in re-examining my own understanding of quantum mechanics and the nature of spacetime. Some of the writings that accompanied this fruitful re-examination, written with the liberal arts students in my family in mind, form the basis of the Modern Physics and Reflections web-pages on the site.

Other essays on the Reflections and Insights pages deal with discoveries and ideas from other areas of modern science and speculation about the metaphysical and spiritual implications of these ideas. In the course of writing these essays it became clear that I am attempting to develop a science based rational world view that incorporates the possibility that the Big Bang that gave rise to our Cosmos was a conscious act of creation. And, furthermore, that the growth of awareness resulting from consciousness is a discernible purpose of human evolution.

The development of such a world view leads inexorably to a confrontation with conventional Theology. My scientific bias is that, just as there is an observable objective truth about the nature of the physical world, there is a single truth about the nature of the Creator. The world view being developed in these essays searches for unifying truths from the theologies supporting scriptural based religions. It seems that the divisiveness of these religions stems from their acceptance of long standing notions of duality.

The theological concept of co-inherence (following Charles Williams(1886-1945)) provides an alternative to dualistic narratives and forms the basis of the spiritual component of the world view espoused in these essays. This is a spirituality of unification and I believe it is fully compatible with the core truths of the world's major religions and wisdom traditions. It also bears a striking resemblance to concepts developed by theoretical physicists to explain the experimental phenomenon of quantum entanglement and resolve the paradoxes of quantum mechanics.

One of the new sciences that have been most fascinating to me is the field of Complexity Science, a field born with the modern computer. This is of natural interest to me since much of the work I have done in experimental physics has involved the use of computers for data acquisition and analysis and for the numerical simulation of physical processes. Which is precisely how research in Complexity Science is conducted. I have written a brief introduction to Complexity Science that you can find below on this webpage.

I began my personal research in Complexity Science by writing two computer programs that deepened my knowledge of fractals and what are called "cellular automata (CA)." Acting under the influence of the artists in my family, these programs include provisions for producing amazingly beautiful patterns in fully programmable coloring schemes that can be downloaded or printed as pieces of art. The first program, called FaceOfInfinity explores the fractals bounding the Mandelbrot set of complex numbers. I have used this program to produce a set of six video clips available on the website that are colorful flights into the infinite with sound tracks of contemporary music.

The second program is called CAPM (Cellular Automata Pattern Maker). It can be used to create 1 dimensional (1D) and 2D cellular automata identified by the codes defined by Stephen Wolfram. Again, the color palettes and sequencing are fully programmable by the user and the created patterns can be printed. There is a sample gallery of complexity art pieces created by these two programs on the website. I hope you will enjoy experimenting with these two programs ( FOI and CAPM) and creating your own art pieces.

My professional career, spanning more than 50 years, has brought an amazing richness of experience that I hope will be an inspiration to any young person considering a career in physics.

The story of my life might be surprising to anyone who thinks the personal life of a scientist might somehow be remote and disconnected from the passions, struggles and pleasures of their own life.

Among the things I'm still trying to make sense of is my own existence and life. And, it's not just scientific sense I seek but something much deeper: the sense of the human heart. My poetic writings that mark this seeking are written in the language of the heart. I call these writings Waypoints.

I have recently (December, 2013) begun writing a series of articles for Colombe Magazine . This is an online journal of discovery, facts and opinions related to current affairs and to my explorations into the integration of modern science and non-dualistic spirituality..

Thanks for your visit. I hope you have time to hang out with me for awhile, but, if not, know that I honor the curiosity that has brought you here. Namaste.



                                           Introducing the world of Complexity Science


Complexity Science is the study of complex patterns or behavior that emerge in a collective as a result of each of the individuals within the collective following a simple procedure or obeying a simple set of rules. Examples of some of the collectives that have been studied by practitioners of complexity science are: insects in a swarm; birds in a flock; traffic moving in a freeway system or along evacuation routes; investors in a market; fire spreading in a forest; disease spreading in a population; or, cells of fluids moving in structures. The list of possibilities is almost endless.

But all of the studies involve computer simulations that apply the procedures or rules to the individuals and visually display the patterns or behaviors that emerge in the collective. This type of computer simulation is sometimes referred to as Agent Based Modeling (ABM) where the individuals are identified here as "agents".  So the basic tools of complexity science are a modern computer and the simulation software that program it to apply the procedures or rules to the individuals and visually display the patterns or behavior that emerge in the collective.

There is a free and open source development platform for creating the software models required for ABM. It is called NetLogo and was first created in 1999 by Uri Wilensky at the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling (CCL), then at Tufts University. In 2000, the CCL moved to Northwestern University where  NetLogo has been nurtured and developed ever since. I find NetLogo easy to use with adequate documentation and a user's forum for additional support. The coding is efficient and the user developed models run very fast with fine graphical displays of the collective behavior and capabilities for plotting numerical results. NetLogo comes with an extensive built-in library of working simulation models from a wide variety of applications. This model library provides an excellent overview and intoduction to the many facets of Complexity Science. If you're interested in trying out NetLogo for yourself, you can download it free from ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/download.shtml.


Melanie Mitchell has written an interesting and helpful book (Complexity: A Guided Tour, Oxford University Press USA, 2009) that provides a very good introduction to Complexity Science. The book includes a description of some of her work with genetic algorithms (computer procedures that use feedback and randomness to perfect themselves). This is a powerful technique for studying adaptation in Complex Adaptive Systems. I find particularly interesting work being done using genetic algorithms to study problems like the role of cooperation in biological evolution.

In February, 2013, the Santa Fe Institute began offering an online course (MOOC) taught by Melanie Mitchell called Complexity Explorer. This is an excellent introduction to Complexity and the course shows how to use NetLogo to create models for simulating various kinds of complex systems. I have taken this course and found it to be both interesting and enjoyable. If you're interested in NetLogo, this is a great place to start.



Copyright © 2009 - 2015 Roger E. Hill. All rights reserved.      Contact: roger_hill@q.com