John Doyle, a CalTech researcher, has been studying and developing theories to describe the way complex systems maintain stability and control. For Doyle, the interesting questions are the deep questions: what are the common controls that all complex systems have? He cares about the nature of the system because he cares about real world impacts, but it is the deeper identity that drives him.
Real world, you ask? Right now he's investigating bacterial metabolism, but Doyle and his team have developed technologies that shatter current Internet speed records without requiring new infrastructure. Impressive.