Vision Statement

Investigations in physical chemistry have been long focused on understanding of individual reaction processes. Many chemical systems, and particularly those of biological origin, are however complex. They may include up to thousands of different interwoven reactions running in parallel in a large number of coupled microreactors. Despite their complexity, such systems may exhibit robust predictable behavior. Understanding of complex chemical systems is of paramount importance for biochemistry and molecular cell biology. Once their knowledge is gained, it can be applied to control natural and to design artificial chemical systems with complex internal organization.

The conceptual basis for analysis of complex chemical processes is provided by major mathematical advances of the last century in the fields of nonlinear dynamics and stochastic phenomena, including the dynamical chaos theory. It has been found that complex systems of very different origins — physical, biological and even social — may be described by similar generic models. Therefore, investigations of complex chemical systems are only possible in the interdisciplinary context.

Berlin as a scientific metropolis provides an excellent background for the complexity research. The Free, Humboldt and Technical universities of Berlin, together with the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, have a long outstanding tradition in such studies. It is very important that the scientific scene in Berlin is characterized by intensive interdisciplinary contacts. Particularly, one should mention here the DFG Collaborative Research Center “Complex Nonlinear Processes” (SFB 555) that has promoted such contacts and joint research for the last ten years, bringing studies of complex systems in Berlin at the highest international level. The culmination of this development was the Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded in 2007 to Gerhard Ertl for his investigations of complex chemical processes in heterogeneous catalysis.

We, a group of scientists mainly from this city, want to contribute to further development of studies on complex systems in the Berlin region and support them by establishing the “Berlin Center for Studies of Complex Systems”.

The Center shall be formed as a non-profit registered association (Eingetragene Verein) in accordance with the German law. While not carrying scientific research of its own, the Center should provide a forum for interdisciplinary scientific exchanges in the field of studies of complex chemical systems. This aim will be fulfilled through The Center will also work on the popularization and dissemination of methods and concepts of complex systems theory in chemical research.