Department of Land, Air and Water Resources - University of California, Davis
Phone: (530) 902-6030   Email:   Office: Veihmeyer 127
  The man on the schroud natural complexity the way to the Origin man-made turbulence utter confussion a prophetic  fig tree? The Holy Trinity DNA inside the bell a santito at peace!

Chaos, Complexity and ChristianityA first year seminar


The last few decades have witnessed the development of a host of ideas aimed at understanding and predicting nature's ever present complexity. These advancements have uncovered relevant universal laws regarding the intricacies of natural disorder (fractals and chaos) and have reminded us that simplicity is often at the root of complexity. Without attempting to convert students in any way while letting them reach their own conclusions, this course exhibits a comprehensive linkage between the universal concepts of science associated with the study of complexity and the moral choices we all face as human beings. Via weekly homework assignments and friendly in-class discussions respectful of all credos, this class expounds, in a logical fashion and consonant with the Bible, the Christian foundation for reconciliation and love, hence drawing an unexpected bridge from science to faith.

About the Instructor

Dr. Puente received his Ph. D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been a professor at the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at the University of California, Davis since 1986. He is the author of over 70 refereed publications, including the books Treasures inside the Bell. Hidden Order in Chance, The Hypotenuse. An Illustrated Scientific Parable for Turbulent Times and The Fig Tree & the Bell. Chaos, Complexity and Christianity, which contain key ideas for this class. Because of his contributions, he is a Fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design. He has published various peer-reviewed articles about the contents of the class and has shared multiple talks about them at several national and international conferences and universities.

Class Notes

0. An introduction to the class
1. An introduction to fractals and complexity
2. The hypotenuse: the pathway of peace
3. Turbulence and the Bible
4. The essence of chaos
5. A lesson from a fig tree?
6. The eloquence of transformation
7. The bell's central plea
8. The splendor of peace


An illustrated summary of this seminar is here.

Companion lectures to the class as given in Rome are here.

A series of lectures for the Jubilee of Mercy, and beyond, is here.

A Testimony

This class is the outgrowth of my research at UC Davis. As a testimonial of my life of faith, I include here (with due permission) my correspondence with 1998 Nobel Prize winner in Literature José Saramago:

First letter from me on December 2003
His response in Portuguese on March 2004
A translation of his response into English
Second letter from me on May 2004

Contact Information

Carlos is available to share presentations about his work on peace. Contact him at