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Home » Hannah Fry: Is Life Really That Complex? at TEDxUCL (Transcript)

Hannah Fry: Is Life Really That Complex? at TEDxUCL (Transcript)

Hannah Fry at TEDxUCL

Full transcript of British complex systems theorist Hannah Fry’s TEDx Talk: Is Life Really That Complex? at TEDxUCL conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Is life really that complex by Hannah Fry at TEDxUCL


Hannah Fry – British complex systems theorist

Okay, thank you very much. I’m Hannah Fry, the badass, and today I’m asking the question: Is life really that complex?

Now, I’ve only got 9 minutes to provide you with an answer. So, what I’ve done is split this neatly into two parts: Part one – Yes, and later on, part two – No, or, to be more accurate: No?

Okay, so first of all let me try and define what I mean by complex. Now I could give you a host of formal definitions, but, in the simplest terms, any problem and complexity is something that Einstein and his peers can’t do.

So, let’s imagine — if the clicker works, there we go — Einstein is playing the game of snooker. He’s a clever chap, so he knows that when he hits the cue ball he could write you an equation and tell you exactly where the red ball is going to hit the sides, how fast it’s going and where it’s going to end up.

Now, if you scale these snooker balls up to the size of the solar system, Einstein can still help you. Sure, the physics changes, but, if you wanted to know about the path of the Earth around the Sun, Einstein could write you an equation telling you exactly where both objects are at any point in time.

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