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
on the site.
Other essays on the Reflections
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
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
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
created by these two programs on the website. I hope you will enjoy experimenting
with these two programs ( FOI
) 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
. 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
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
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
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.
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
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
. 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.