The following walk reports may include locations subject to restricted access. It may not be open to the public and you would not be authorised to visit the location without approval of the landowner. Our walking groups obtain permission where required for these walks.
Life is the most complex phenomenon in the universe. Yet, remarkably, many of its most complex attributes scale with size in a surprisingly simple fashion. As we look at organisms from the tiniest to the largest, lifespans and growth rates, for example, increase with exponents which are typically simple powers of 1/4. Geoffrey West, president of the Sante Fe Institute, shows how these scaling laws follow from fundamental generic principles embedded in the dynamical and geometrical structure of underlying networks, leading to a general quantitative theory that captures essential features of many diverse biological systems. He then extends these ideas to discuss urban systems: to what extent are cities an extension of biology?