The reality is made of systems: birth and development of analytical systemic thinking. From Jay Forrester’s “world models” to “The Limits to Growth”, I will present how Systems Thinking has substantiated the philosophical idea of an interconnected world, where everything depends in some way on everything else. The development of powerful computational tools has allowed since the ‘70s to explore new approaches, owing to the possibility of testing and validating the new born analytical descriptions of a system. I will define what is a system, what makes it “complex”, and start addressing how systems coming from completely different realms can be actually isomorphic in their operation. The famous “iceberg of systems thinking” will be also presented, showing the meaning of shifting the attention from the events we observe to the patterns and configurations to which the system may access -which give rise to those events, to the ultimate systemic structure that determines the patterns.
Francesco Gonella short bio
PhD in Physics at University of Padova, Italy. Excéllence Postdoctorale at the Université Laval, Québec City, Canada. Since 2016, Full Professor of Physics at the Department of Molecular Sciences and Nanosystems of the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. After twenty years of activity as an experimental physicist (study of nanostructured glasses, artistic glasses and glasses for energy technologies), ten years ago I have shifted my interests to Systems Thinking and Emergy Analysis, applied to the study of the functioning and the integrated sustainability of systems. I am Director of the “International School on Emergy Accounting'', and member of the Executive Council of the International Society for the Advancement in Emergy Research. I teach Sustainability and Systems Thinking at the Beijing Normal University in China as a high-end foreign expert, and keep courses on the same topics at the Universities of Turin and Catania in Italy. I was Visiting Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, for two years, and Visiting Researcher at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, USA) and the University of Florida (Gainesville, USA). H-index=37 (2020, Scopus). Author or co-author of almost 200 publications in international peer-reviewed Journals. Invited lecturer in Universities in Canada, USA, Germany, India, Japan, China, Poland, France.