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On 26th November, 2008 the ceremony for the foundation took place at Prof. Dr. Andreas Liening’s chair at TU Dortmund. In addition to the professors of the department, guests from other German, but also from foreign universities were awaited to come to the festivity. For instance, scientists from the universities in Münster, Siegen, Vienna, Umea (Sweden) and New York came to be present at the ceremony.

In addition to a musical supporting programme, which was arranged by Rolf Bürgermeister (piano) and Johannes Weyer (vocal) with interesting jazz arrangements, the American professor Herbert Sherman from Long Island University as keynote speaker gave a speech with the title “The Wallstreet Meltdown“. In this context he discussed the current problems of the financial crisis from an economic and complexity scientific perspective. Apart from that, a greeting from the founder of Synergetics, the physicist Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. mult. Hermann Haken, was read out. Besides Chaos Theory and Fractal Geometry, Synergetics as the theory of self-organisation is regarded as an important area of “Complexity Sciences”, which will constitute the scientific basis of research of the new centre. Already for years, Prof. Liening has made a wide variety of scientific contributions in the form of books, articles and speeches at international conferences concerning this matter.

On the one hand it is the objective of the centre to make the activities of the chair more visible to an international public and, on the other hand, to point out to the public the emphasis on the engagement with complex systems in the context of business education. In this context, the publication of a corresponding international journal is intended, which will be edited by Prof. Liening as well as by his colleagues from London and New York and which will complement the current series of books “Ökonomie und komplexe Systeme” by Prof. Liening.

The centre takes up highly topical research approaches: The modern economy is characterised by an advancing complexity; thus, many traditional economic explanatory models increasingly lose persuasive power. The development of the economy as a whole or as well in particular domains, as, for example the business sector, is not always characterised by fluent transitions, as suggested by numerous traditional models. In fact, discontinuities, jump discontinuities and apparently non-predictable turbulences occur, as it is shown by the development of share prices or the current economic crisis. Thus, economy and economy-related subareas can be understood as non-linear, dynamical systems. In this context one also speaks of complex systems.

Therefore, it is of particular importance to do research on new concepts and methods in the field of complex dynamical systems. To an increasing degree, the research approaches of this domain find their way into the economic science, for example in order to better understand complex order structures, which are generated by market-based systems. Neither, “Complexity Sciences” disprove determinism, nor do they consider ordered systems as impossible. Although they suggest that the current state of a system possibly cannot be predicted, they nevertheless show that generally it is possible to model the overall characteristics of such a system. Consequently, Chaos Theory does not emphasize disorder, the inherent unpredictability of a system status, but rather the order structures, which are inherent to a system – the universal characteristics of homogeneous systems.

The possibility of researching chaos and therewith connected order patterns in complex systems became imaginable not until the development of modern computer technology. The multitude of calculations and the different types of visualisation of complex structures were unrealisable before. Because of this it does not astonish that especially at the beginning of the nineties of the last century this theory gained in importance. In the meantime, the euphoria, which accompanied Chaos Theory in particular, has calmed down again and the amount of popular scientific new publications has decreased. But at the same time the amount of scientific publications, which try to transfer important aspects of “Complexity Sciences“ to other areas of science, increased. In doing so, economics is not excluded, as one expects a better approach to economic reality from the models which are made possible by “Complexity Sciences“ than, for example, the neoclassical paradigm can render.

For a real science, as, for example the economic science, the empirical verifiability of such models plays an important role. But so far, there has been a lack of this. A revolutionary doctoral dissertation on empirical research of complexity has recently been written at the chair of Prof. Liening, from which he and his team hope to gain significant empirical benefit. Now, the findings of complexity sciences shall be used for the field of economic education at the new centre. Economic education is that part of general education which enables humans to act in a professional and responsible way in a world that is increasingly permeated by economic requirements. Accordingly, the education of teachers for economics as well as vocational further education (e. g. entrepreneurship education) play an important role in teaching at Prof. Liening’s chair.


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