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Several prominent physicists participated last month in the ICTP's Adriatico Research Conferences on "Nonlinear Cooperative Phenomena in Biological Systems" and "The Dynamics of Complexity." Per Bak, Professor of Physics at the University of Copenhagen, whose ideas have influenced U.S. Vice-President Al Gore's views on the environment, spoke about self-organizing neural networks. Such networks, for instance, hold the potential for possible use in medicine and geophysics. Meanwhile, Stuart Kauffman, an internationally recognised expert on chaos theory and a leading scientist at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, examined competing theories on the origin of life.

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