Complex Systems School in Heraklion

Dropping in on a Greek Complexity Summer School in Crete. I have to take my hat off to the Greeks. They have been organising summer schools for years - initially on chaos and now on complexity. I have been to a few over the years and enjoyed them all. Despite the heat the students are attentive.


entrance to the summer school, the weather is hot and I don't blame the dog for taking a rest.


Professor Tassos Bountis - Patras University - delivering a lecture on fractal structures of maps

not scientific but …...When I arrived at the institute where the meeting is being held I noticed several dogs lounging around. Asleep on the steps, asleep in the corridors and against a cool wall. Little did I realise that in the evening they acted like additional security guards. As the afternoon passed they woke up and moved around as a motley pack but then moved to outside the gates and monitored every passing car and motorbike.


They did not actually bite anyone but certainly made a few motorists slow down, which is not a bad idea as later there were a number of drivers who seemed to relish the challenge of shaking the froth off peoples beer by driving fast in the narrow streets.

Talking of froth, enjoyed a very nice grilled octopus and Mythos beer myself,


and I have to say that I enjoy the greek way of life. I am sure that the weather helps but you can see why democracy started in a culture that encourages people to come out into the streets and cafes to chat until quite late.

To encourage further debate, I hosted a small reception for the students



Well that kept the students awake.


I sparked off lots of interest with mentions in my talk to modelling riots. People in Greece, as perhaps they are everywhere, are very sensitive any idea that this work could lead to heavy handed police action. I spent an interesting hour outside the hall arguing that this work does not mean that we should not also consider the root causes of the problems. The distinction between riot and revolution may, after all, be small - thanks to (Maria, I think) for picking me up on this.

I enjoyed creating a narrative of my own to show how science needs to create stories to sell their new advances in science. Each time I show work on visual narrative people seem to really be taken with it and come up with their own examples of where pictures have caught the attention better than formal textual narratives.