IN CONTEXT

KEY FIGURE

Robert May (1936–)

BEFORE

1798 Thomas Malthus argues that human populations will increase at an ever-faster rate, inevitably causing suffering.

1845 Belgian demographist Pierre-François Verhulst argues that checks to population growth will increase in line with population growth itself.

AFTER

1987 Per Bak, Chao Tang, and Kurt Wiesenfeld, a research team in New York, describe “self-organized criticality”—elements within a system interacting spontaneously to produce change.

2014 Japanese ecologist George Sugihari uses a chaos theory approach called empirical dynamic modeling to produce a more accurate estimate of salmon ...

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