Theme summary

The concept of structure provides ideas about organizational principles and material which sit in useful opposition to notions of dis-organisation, loss of form and potential entropy. It cuts across disciplines with great clarity, enabling consideration of the relationships between material, social, literary, architectural, musical and artistic structures and their – always contingent – capacities to provide certainty and continuity.

How do structures take form in the natural world; how do they evolve over time, and what influences them? How are they actively composed by humans and other species? And what is the relationship between natural and cultural structures? How are structure and function related in biology, architecture and engineering, and what lessons do these disciplinary areas provide for each other about structure-function relationships?

The concept of structure is central to engineering, both in single artefacts (bridges, buildings) and in larger systems of infrastructure. Similarly, in social and cultural terms, there are multiple discourses about structure in art and narrative (with useful debates regarding the relationship between structure and aesthetics), and in thinking about larger artefacts such as big databases. At the extreme ‘other end’ of scale, cosmologists consider the large scale structure of the Universe and the notion of a ‘cosmic web’.

Structure publications

Sub themes:

  • Fundamental structures
  • Structure and interdisciplinarity
  • Structure and representation
  • The future of the University
  • Structuring knowledges
  • Structural relations
  • Structure and symmetry
  • Envisioning structure
  • The structure of scientific revolution



Theme fellows

To learn more about the Fellows from this theme, visit the 2017/18 Structure Fellows page.

Professor Nicholas Aroney (University of Queensland)

Professor Dennis Beach (University of Gothenburg)

Dr Jörg Kreienbrock (Northwestern University)

Dr Wahbie Long (University of Cape Town)

Dr Andy Martin (University of Melbourne)

Dr Tom Murray (Macquarie University)

Professor Christian Ruby (University of Lorraine)

Professor Tiziana de Rogatis (Universita per Stranieri di Siena)

Professor William Thompson (Macquarie University)

Dr Kathryn Yusoff (Queen Mary University of London)

Professor Michael Chapman (University of Newcastle, Australia)

Dr Francesca Fulminante (University of Bristol)

Dr Pascal Nicklas (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

Professor Vasilis Politis (Trinity College Dublin)

Professor Sverre Raffnsøe (Copenhagen Business School)

Professor Nigel Rapport (University of St Andrews)

Professor Barbara Risman (University of Illinois)

Professor Thomas Vogt (University of South Carolina)

Professor Robert Wood (University of New South Wales)

Professor Boris Malomed (Tel Aviv University)