Synergetics is an interdiciplinary field of research that deals with complex systems composed of many individual parts. The systems and their parts may belong to quite different disciplines, ranging from physics over medicine till epistemology. Some examples are:
– physics: fluids, gases, plasmas composed of atoms, molecules, ions
– chemistry: reactions of molecules, forming patterns
– biology: morphogenesis (cells), evolution (species, animals)
– brain sciences: brains composed of neurons
– economy: companies (workers)
– epistemology: scientific disciplines/theories
Synergetics focusses its attention on those situations where new qualities appear on macroscopic scales, e.g. new spatio-temporal patterns in fluids, new types of cooperation in companies, new percepts in brain a.s.o. The emergence of new qualities can be treated theoretically by means of concepts such as instability, order parameters, slaving principle, circular causality, which will be explained in detail. Their mathematical/algorithmic basis will be outlined stressing the interplay between nonlinearity and randomness. All the systems considered are in interaction with their surround which imposes special conditions (modeled by control parameters) on the systems.