Santa Fe Institute

Research News

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Jerry Sabloff to receive Penn Museum's prestigious Drexel Medal
April 10, 2014 -

The Penn Museum has announced it will award the prestigious Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal to SFI President Jerry Sabloff during a special dinner on April 25 in Philadelphia.

Wanted: SFI's next president
April 10, 2014 -

The Santa Fe Institute is seeking an uncommon leader to guide this world-renowned nonprofit research and education center. If you know a great candidate, pass it on.

Video: Robin Dunbar on why the Internet won’t get you any more friends
April 3, 2014 -

In an SFI Community Lecture March 12, evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar explained why our brains are hard-wired to maintain meaningful relationships with no more than around 150 people -- and this includes Internet relationships. Watch the lecture.

SFI's Dan Dennett exchanges views with Richard Swinburne on how academics should approach religion
- Prospect magazine
April 2, 2014 -

In Prospect magazine's World Thinkers 2014 series, philosopher and SFI External Professor Dan Dennett exchanges perspectives with philosopher Richard Swinburne on how academics should approach the study of religion.

Study: Indigenous societies' 'first contact' typically brings collapse, but rebounds are possible
- Scientific Reports
April 1, 2014 -

An analysis led by SFI's Marcus Hamilton paints a grim picture of the experiences of indigenous societies following contact with Western Europeans, but also offers hope to those seeking to preserve Brazil’s remaining indigenous societies.

Video: Medical, scientific, political and journalistic pitfalls in the study of confusing illnesses
March 28, 2014 -

In an SFI seminar video, SFI journalism fellow Julie Rehmeyer explores society's poor handling of illnesses without clear causal mechanisms or sharply-defined symptoms, including her firsthand experience with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Paper: Aggressive greed's altruistic side
- Nature Communications
March 26, 2014 -

Bullies inevitably frustrate other members of a community, but they might be key to the group's success in conflicts with other groups, according to a new study that sheds light on the evolutionary roots of cooperation.

Simon Levin awarded Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement
March 26, 2014 -

Princeton's Simon Levin, a member of SFI's Science Board, has been awarded the 2014 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for bridging ecological research and environmental policy, economics, and social science.

Facial expressions and pattern recognition
- The Huffington Post
March 20, 2014 -

In The Huffington Post, radio/TV host Paula Gordon cites SFI's Melanie Mitchell and Murray Gell-Mann in an article on facial expressions and pattern recognition.

Commentary: Bolster the renewable energy development boom
- Nature
March 20, 2014 -

Low-carbon technologies are getting more affordable each year, in part thanks to government support for technology development, but continued public-policy support is needed to maintain the momentum, writes SFI External Professor Jessika Trancik.

Paper: Ancient food webs show modern structure after mass extinction
- Proceedings of the Royal Society B
March 20, 2014 -

Analysis of a highly detailed picture of feeding relationships among 700 species from a 48 million year old ecosystem provides the most compelling evidence to date that ancient food webs were organized much like modern food webs.

Eight areas where physics has improved our grasp of economics
- Medium.com
March 18, 2014 -

Physicists have made a number of lasting contributions to a deeper understanding of finance and economics, including a few researchers affiliated with SFI, writes Mark Buchanan in a review of "econophysics."

Paper: Young children form first impressions from facial expressions
March 14, 2014 -

New research co-authored by SFI Cowan Professor Mahzarin Banaji shows that children as young as 3 tend to judge an individual’s character traits, such as trustworthiness and competence, simply by looking at the person’s face.

'Creativity, like evolution, is merely a series of thefts'
- Wired
March 13, 2014 -

SFI External Professor Mark Pagel writes in Wired that human invention isn't creativity so much as improving on and combining ideas that came earlier -- and that is essentially the same process as evolution, he contends.

Paper finds new variable distributions for systems at the edge of chaos
- European Physical Journal B
March 11, 2014 -

A new paper co-authored by SFI External Professor Miguel Fuentes shows that that the distribution of the variables of systems at the edge of chaos has a very different shape than previously reported.

Study: Climate change will shift malaria to higher elevations
March 10, 2014 -

A study led by by SFI External Professor Mercedes Pascual shows that malaria creeps to higher elevations during warmer years, suggesting that climate change will bring the mosquito-borne disease to higher, more densely-populated regions.

Could behavioral medicine lead the web data revolution?
- JAMA
March 7, 2014 -

Digital footprints left on search engines, social media, and social networking sites can yield anonymous and instantaneous insights, according to a commentary co-authored by SFI Omidyar Fellow Ben Althouse.

Key to understanding extinctions might be Earth's biotic response, not the trigger
- PNAS
March 4, 2014 -

In PNAS, Doug Erwin suggests that the similarities seen in the data on past mass extinctions may lie not with the triggering mechanisms, but in how the Earth’s biota responds to environmental insults.

Video: Caltech honors Murray Gell-Mann for '50 years of the quark'
March 4, 2014 -

SFI Distinguished Fellow Murray Gell-Mann was honored at Caltech in December during an event celebrating “50 years of the quark.” Watch the presentations.

Big city life on the urban continuum
- Santa Fe New Mexican
March 3, 2014 -

Former Omidyar Fellow Scott Ortman summarizes his research with SFI's Luis Bettencourt showing that the same equations describe all human settlements, from the ancient cities of the Aztecs to today's megacities.

Is wartime rape inevitable?
- AlJazeera
Feb. 27, 2014 -

Is wartime rape inevitable? No, says SFI External Proffessor Libby Wood, who notes that 64 percent of armed-conflict actors in Africa do not engage in rape.

Searching for the metabolic chemistry of early life
- PLOS ONE
Feb. 25, 2014 -

To better understand the emergence of life, two researchers are taking a careful look at an unusual bacterium that lives in boiling hot springs.

Audio: How Wikipedia can help us understand ourselves
- Santa Fe Radio Cafe
Feb. 25, 2014 -

Former SFI Omidyar Fellow Simon DeDeo describes his research to find and explain patterns of human social behavior in data from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Paper: At the gene level, robustness and evolvability go hand in hand
- Science
Feb. 25, 2014 -

A study out today in the journal Science suggests that not only are the seemingly contradictory characteristics robustness and evolvability compatible, they are, in fact, two sides of life's coin.

Land grabbing's environmental consequences
- Area
Feb. 25, 2014 -

A global increase over the past decade in acquisitions of large tracts of land is likely to bring large-scale environmental transformations, according to a new paper by Eli Lazarus.

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