Geoffrey West

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Geoffrey West, 2007

Geoffrey Brian West (born 15 December 1940) is a British theoretical physicist, former president and distinguished professor of the Santa Fe Institute

Quotes[edit]

1990s[edit]

2000s[edit]

  • Humanity has just crossed a major landmark in its history with the majority of people now living in cities. Cities have long been known to be society's predominant engine of innovation and wealth creation, yet they are also its main source of crime, pollution, and disease. The inexorable trend toward urbanization worldwide presents an urgent challenge for developing a predictive, quantitative theory of urban organization and sustainable development

2010s[edit]

  • I’ve always wanted to find the rules that govern everything. It’s amazing that such rules exist. It’s even more amazing that we can find them.
  • Once we started to urbanize, we put ourselves on this treadmill. We traded away stability for growth. And growth requires change.
  • A human being at rest runs on 90 watts. That’s how much power you need just to lie down. And if you’re a hunter-gatherer and you live in the Amazon, you’ll need about 250 watts. That’s how much energy it takes to run about and find food. So how much energy does our lifestyle [in America] require? Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts. Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live? And what you find is that we have created a lifestyle where we need more watts than a blue whale. We require more energy than the biggest animal that has ever existed. That is why our lifestyle is unsustainable. We can’t have seven billion blue whales on this planet. It’s not even clear that we can afford to have 300 million blue whales.

External links[edit]

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