Complex systems are much more than the sum of their parts and the science for understanding them is steadily growing at the intersection of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Economics, Social Science and even Art.

Examples of complex systems are everywhere in our daily life, from social media to financial markets, from city traffic to ecosystems and many more. Even ant colonies display complex social behaviours!


While the academic world is rapidly adjusting to novel complex paradigms, unfortunately complexity is not yet taught in schools. Students end up acquiring even advanced algorithms that they consider “useless” because current STEM syllabi do not report on the many deep repercussions and links that science has in real-world complex systems.

However, it is important for students to build connections between science and our complex real world in order to be ready for facing the many challenges waiting for them at the University. Further, these links can also greatly help in boosting the students’ appreciation and understanding of STEM subjects, as reported within the scientific literature.

This is the main aim of Complex Forma Mentis, which represents an outreach project exposing high school students to relatable and understandable examples of real-world complex systems.

Complex Forma Mentis ultimately aims at:

  1. gathering data about the current perception of students towards STEM disciplines in order to compare it against the forma mentis of teachers and young researchers;
  2. exposing students to the basics of complexity relating to the patterns and phenomena observed in real-world complex systems;
  3. being highly beneficial in boosting the students’ appreciation of STEM disciplines;
  4. building more opportunities for ideas exchanges between students, teachers and researchers from academia;
  5. motivating more students in pursuing a scientific degree at the university level.