Santa Fe Institute

Research News

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Science Board member Simon Levin wins National Medal of Science for his research in ecological complexity
May 20, 2016 -

This week the president awarded SFI's Simon Levin the U.S. National Medal of Science—the nation’s highest honor for achievement and leadership in science. 

Happening now at SFI: Working group seeks new algorithms for an old problem
May 16, 2016 -

Deciding whether two symmetries are alike is a longstanding problem in group theory, the mathematical study of symmetry. This week at SFI, a working group meets to tackle the mathematical curiosity with implications across diverse scientific fields.

Applying complexity in The City Different
May 6, 2016 -

SFI and the City of Santa Fe join a federally funded initiative to find innovative solutions to local urban issues.

Chimpanzee fig selection sheds light on primate motor skills evolution
April 26, 2016 -

In a new study published in the Royal Society's Interface Focus, Justin Yeakel and colleagues explore the role fruit selection may have had on the evolution of primate motor skills.

Accounting for politics in green energy transitions
April 22, 2016 -

A new computational model by SFI Omidyar Fellow Marion Dumas and colleagues forecasts 50-year carbon emissions under differing political scenarios.

In first 72 Hours of Science, SFI postdocs test the limits of transdisciplinary science
April 20, 2016 -

In a test of the limits of scientific collaboration, 15 postdocs holed up in a home in the New Mexico foothills recently for three days and nights of intense scientific research. Their goal: produce a novel research paper in just 72 hours.

Paper: Novelty's not the sole source of invention
- EPJ Data Science
April 17, 2016 -

The economic impact of a new invention depends on its novelty and its conventionality, according to new research by SFI's Hyejin Youn and co-authors.

Human psychology and why we can't seem to get our heads around climate change
- BioScience
April 15, 2016 -

A new article co-authored by a number of SFI-affiliated researchers explores the psychological barriers that drive our distinct lack of “foresight intelligence” regarding climate change and our failure to take mitigating steps.

Systemic risk tax could diminish cascading failures in interbank lending
- Quantitative Finance
April 13, 2016 -

 In Quantitative Finance, SFI External Professor Stefan Thurner and colleagues suggest that a tax on interbank loans scaled to the risk each transaction adds to the system would more effectively limit financial systemic risk than proposed "one size fits all" risk taxes.

What can we learn from the farming insects?
April 11, 2016 -

Humans aren't the only species that farms; leafcutter ants, termites, and some beetles grow their own food. A working group met recently at SFI to explore the evolution of agriculture in insects and humans.

Scientists: Complexity theory can play a role in financial regulation and prediction
- Science
April 11, 2016 -

Deploying ideas and tools from complexity science in the financial sector would go a long way toward stabilizing global financial markets, according to a group of scientists writing today in Science

SFI to participate in unprecedented evolutionary research project
April 8, 2016 -

A collaboration of international researchers, including four SFI scientists, has been awarded $8 million to extend our understanding of evolution.

Bacteria must make evolutionary size vs. function tradeoffs
April 5, 2016 -

Upper and lower bounds on the sizes of bacteria and the physiological tradeoffs that constrain these size limits are explored in a new paper co-authored by SFI Omidyar Fellow Chris Kempes.

Tree rings offer new views of human history
- Science Advances
April 1, 2016 -

A new analysis shows how tree ring data can help examine the social and demographic movements of ancient peoples. 

In memoriam: Harold Morowitz
March 30, 2016 -

Harold Morowitz, a leading figure in shaping the scientific and popular understanding of the chemical origins of life on Earth, passed away March 22 in Fairfax, Va.

Hybrid vaccination protocol could cut whooping cough cases by 95 percent
- JAMA Pediatrics
March 29, 2016 -

Whooping cough is on the rise in the US, and the adoption of a new vaccine in the 1990s is part of the explanation. Two former SFI Omidyar Fellows propose a hybrid vaccination protocol they say could slash cases by 95 percent.

Researchers examining human response to climate stress
March 28, 2016 -

Researchers met at SFI recently to make progress on the Artificial Long House Valley model, an agent-based model that is shedding light on human responses to environmental stress.

Islands as microcosms for understanding interplay of ecological, environmental, and social systems
- GigaScience
March 25, 2016 -

In a recent paper, SFI Professor Jennifer Dunne and colleagues present their Island Digital Ecosystem Avatars concept, which models changes to an island's socioecosystem dynamics.

Asking why pertussis is back, complex systems style
March 21, 2016 -

This week a group of researchers, diverse even by SFI standards, have converged in Santa Fe to address the complexity of the rise of pertussis and other reemerging infectious diseases.

Ancient genomes shed light on human adaptation and genetic variation
March 18, 2016 -

In a new paper, SFI professor Michael Lachmann and colleagues explore the roots of human genetic variation by comparing modern DNA to an ancient sample.

Does urban scaling apply to Europe’s oldest cities, too?
- Royal Society Interface
March 16, 2016 -

Do urban scaling relationships apply to the old cities of Europe, with their unique development patterns and multiple cycles of boom and bust, or are they an aberration on the urban landscape?

This week at SFI: Is social science built on WEIRDness?
March 16, 2016 -

Psychologists and anthropologists convene at SFI this week to try to figure out what to do about what’s called the WEIRD problem (social science studies of subjects with Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic backgrounds).

Working group explores the science and art of data representation
March 11, 2016 -

Media artists, composers, and artist-programmers join SFI scientists this week to discuss new ways to represent complex data.

Ecologists meet at SFI to investigate what regulates what's living where, and in what numbers
March 11, 2016 -

This week at SFI a working group investigates an organizing principle at the heart of ecology.

Happening now at SFI: To make sense of a mountain of food web data, give it a jolt of math
Feb. 29, 2016 -

This week's working group at SFI brings together ecologists and computer scientists to develop techniques for analyzing an explosion of food web data.

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