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Cornell University
LASSP -  Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics

Cornell Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics

Sethna describes how scientific theories work

Overwhelmed by the infinite complexities of how physics or life or economics work? Prof James Sethna along with Ben Machta, Ricky Chachra, and Mark Transtrum have applied a framework from physics to generalize how we understand scientific theories. They've coined this framework the "Sloppy" model and can apply it to fields as diverse as physics, biology and economics. It is used to show how our theories and predictions are based on a fairly limited number of important factors and that much of the complexity we wrestle with has negligible effects on outcomes. See the Chronicle article and the write up on Jesse Silvergerg's blog. Read the paper in the November issue of Science Explore more on Prof Sethna's site.

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Sloppy Models