Dynamics of Complex Systems
12.517 G(2) 3­0­9 Spring 2002

The theme for Spring 2002 will be
Pattern and Form in Geology and Geobiology.

This term we will discuss patterns in the physical and biological environment, with emphasis on interactions between the two. The class will be composed of pedagogical lectures and roundtable discussions of classical works and recent literature. Discussions will be focused on constructing quantitative theories to explain observed phenomena.

We will meet twice weekly. No background in earth science or ecology will be presumed; however mathematics at the level of 18.03 is essential.

Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:30 in Rm. 54-313.

Instructor: Prof. Daniel Rothman

Tentative syllabus:

I. Landscapes.

To view the detailed bibliography, click here .

Scaling, universality, and geomorphology (Dodds and Rothman, 2000)
Physics of channelization (Smith and Bretherton, 1972; Dunne, 1990)
Periodic drainage patterns (Hovius, 1996)
Seepage erosion on Earth (Laity and Malin, 1985)
Martian channels and water (Aharonson et al., 2002)
Statistical topography (Schorghofer and Rothman, 2001)
Seepage and runoff on Mars (Malin and Edgett, 2000)
Martian slope streaks (Aharonson, Khatiwala, and Schorghofer, 2002)
Hawaiian seepage (Wentworth, 1928)


II. Landscapes and life

Vegetation patterns: observations (Valentin et al., 1999)
Vegetation patterns: theory (von Hardenberg et al., 2001)
Spatial patterns in tropical forests (Condit et al., 2000)
Species-area relations (Plotkin et al., 2000)
Ecology on river networks (Honnay et al., 2001)
Contact processes (Weitz)


III. Origin and evolution of life

Billion-year old worms? (Seilacher et al., 1998).
Earth's earliest fossils (Schopf et al., 2002; Brasier et al., 2002)
Clay patterns (Cairns-Smith , 1985).


IV. Biosphere-geosphere interactions

Cycles in biosphere-geosphere interactions (Fischer, 1984).
Tectonic cycles (Wilson, 1966; Gurnis, 1988; Zhang and Libchaber, 2000)


  © Dan Rothman Group, 1999-2009
last updated: Mon Sep 26 14:35:54 2011