Matthieu Barbier

Matthieu searches for simplicity in macroscopic phenomena in theoretical ecology, often relying on ideas from statistical physics. He graduated in theoretical linguistics and physics, pursued a PhD in the latter in Paris, and explored various interfaces with economics and ecology in Incheon, Princeton and Moulis. He co-founded the interdisciplinary nonprofit Institut Natura e Teoria en Pirenèus, and is now employed as a researcher at the Plant Health Institute in Montpellier, France. His variegated experiences have left him with two major archetypes for how he thinks about intriguing phenomena in life, cognition and society: from physics, the duality and equivalence between causal (force-based) and acausal (variational) explanations; from linguistics, the separation of concerns between historical (etymological) and functional (grammatical or semantic) subfields. He hopes to use these archetypes to better understand, and formalize mathematically, the equivalences and tensions that he has encountered between various modes of scientific explanation of biological phenomena.