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Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Physics

In the spirit of the motto "interdisciplinarity is dialog" the aim of the Lab is to face biological and ecological problems in collaboration with experts of the field. Not mixing our expertises, but summing them up. Our research spans from statistical mechanics to organization of ecosystems.

Emergent Patterns in Complex Systems

Universal scaling behavior is an attractive feature in statistical physics because a wide range of models can be classified purely in terms of their collective behavior whose characteristics depend only on few details like the dimensionality of the system and symmetries of the problem (eventually on the kind of decay of the interaction strength) but not on finer details. Scaling phenomena, as epitomized by fine size scaling, have been observed in many branches of physics,chemistry, biology, ecology economics and sociology. Our research interests include ecological and biological systems, physics of interacting particle, optimal transportation network, complex networks dynamics with applications on environmental science and sustainability.

Organization of Ecosystems and Dynamics of Evolution

Understanding the origin, maintenance and loss of biodiversity in ecological systems is a goal of the highest scientific priority given the rapidity of global biodiversity loss. Ecological communities exhibit pervasive patterns and interrelationships between size, abundance, and the availability of resources. Non-equilibrium statistical mechanics is the natural candidate to develop a unified framework for understanding the distribution of organism sizes, their energy use, and spatial distribution. We have demonstrated that optimal use of resources, both at the individual and community level, leads to a consistent scaling theory in plant communities which is well supported by observational data. We believe that variational/optimization principles, which have been so successful in physics, are also able to explain other commonly observed spatio-temporal patterns in natural systems (e.g. architecture of ecological interaction networks, species area relationship) and, eventually, predict new ones not yet discovered. Our research of complex living systems incorporates theoretical inquiry, modeling, and empirical study.

OrganizationUniversity of Padova
Second AffiliationPhysics and Astronomy Department
Administrative ContactAdriana Schiavon
Administrative Contact EmailLiph.unipd@gmail.com
Keywordsstatistical physics; complex systems;

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