Why do organisms and ecosystems scale with size in a remarkably universal and systematic fashion?
Is there a maximum size of cities? Of animals and plants? What about companies?
Can scale show us how to create a more sustainable future?
By applying the rigour of physics to questions of biology, visionary physicist Geoffrey West found that despite the riotous diversity in the sizes of mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. This speaks to everything from how long we can expect to live to how many hours of sleep we need. He then made the even bolder move of exploring his work's applicability to cities and to the business world. These investigations have led to powerful insights about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in profound ways, and how all complex systems are dancing to the same simple tune, however diverse and unrelated they may seem.
GEOFFREY WEST is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics, biology and global sustainability. West is a distinguished professor at the Santa Fe Institute, where he served as the president from 2005 to 2009. He also holds visiting positions at Oxford University, Imperial College and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. West has been cited and admired in the works of many other writers and thinkers, and has given numerous presentations and popular online appearances on TED, Pop-Tech, World Economic Forum and Google Talks. In 2006, he was named to Time magazine's list of the '100 Most Influential People in the World'.