Santa Fe Institute

Research News

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SFI's Mercedes Pascual receives MacArthur Award in ecology
Aug. 22, 2014 -

SFI External Professor and Science Board member Mercedes Pascual has been awarded the Ecological Society of America's prestigious Robert H. MacArthur Award.

Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lectures Sept. 9 & 10: Ancient Maya civilization and its relevance to the world today
Aug. 19, 2014 -

In a two-part lecture series September 9 & 10 in Santa Fe, archaeologist Jerry Sabloff draws on the ancient Maya to show how lessons from the past could help shape present and future human societies.

Video - Watch Steven Strogatz's SFI Community Lecture 'The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math'
Aug. 12, 2014 -

In an August 6 SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe, mathematician Steven Strogatz showed how math underpins our lives, from finding the perfect romantic partner to understanding how Google works. Watch the video.

What influenced prevalence of violence in ancient societies?
- American Antiquity
Aug. 7, 2014 -

In a recent paper, SFI External Professor Tim Kohler and co-authors find differences in prevalence of violence among the northern Rio Grande and central Mesa Verde areas between A.D. 600 and the arrival of the Spanish in 1540.

Study: Social dynamics beats penicillin in stopping syphilis outbreaks
- Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Aug. 6, 2014 -

Two SFI researchers examined the on-again-off-again cycles of syphilis infection since the early 1960s and conclude that the dynamics of social networks, not cycles of immunity, most likely account for some of the disease's fluctuation.

Video: What's the number one thing we could do to improve city life?
- The Atlantic Cities
Aug. 5, 2014 -

SFI's Luis Bettencourt and Geoffrey West are among the experts who weigh in on the question "What's the number one thing we could do to improve city life?"

Melanie Moses selected for McDonnell Foundation's complex systems scholar award
July 30, 2014 -

SFI External Professor Melanie Moses has been awarded the James S. McDonnell Foundation's 21st Century Science Initiative in Studying Complex Systems – Scholar Award for 2014.

Video: Watch Seth Lloyd's talk 'Is time travel possible? Testing the Grandfather Paradox'
July 30, 2014 -

In a July 16 SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe, MITs Seth Lloyd proffered a mode of time travel that is both theoretically possible and creatively irresistible. Watch his talk.

How pond scum might offer clues to life’s puzzles
- Santa Fe New Mexican
July 28, 2014 -

SFI Omidyar Fellow Eric Libby ponders how the study of organisms that straddle single- and multi-cellularity can challenge our basic assumptions about organisms and evolution.

Newman, Perelson among the most influential scientists
- Thomson Reuters
July 24, 2014 -

Mark Newman and Alan Perelson are among the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2014, an annual recognition of researchers who have written the most highly cited papers in 21 prominent scientific fields over the last decade.

Paper sheds new light on how hosts and parasites co-evolve
July 23, 2014 -

In PNAS, researchers examine co-evolution patterns among a bacterium and a panel of viruses, shedding new light on the dynamics of co-evolution among simple host-parasite communities.

'Complexity economics teaches us humility'
- Libre Mercado (Spain)
July 22, 2014 -

In a Q&A, SFI Trustee John Chisholm extolls the value of online education and complex systems thinking and says the Institute has "profoundly" influenced his thinking about the economy.

What science can tell us about how cities work
- Boston Globe
July 21, 2014 -

SFI Professor Luis Bettencourt is quoted in a Boston Globe story about the increasing contributions science is making to urban design and planning.

'Hanging out at the Santa Fe Institute is like being at a brain spa'
July 20, 2014 -

A feature describes the Institute, its research, and its people in the context of a recent meeting in which the world's experts gathered to explore the connections among climate, sustainability, and human activity.

Better ways to forecast technological change
July 18, 2014 -

Experts are at SFI this summer examining how technology evolves, in part by building technological trophic networks akin to food webs describing feeding interactions in ecosystems. 

Working group explores the 'frustration' of spin glasses
July 17, 2014 -

Experts invited to a five-day working group at SFI this week will seek a better understanding of spin glasses and how they work.

Ecologists need 'efficient theory' to make sense of all the data
- Bioscience
July 16, 2014 -

Ecologists are awash with data and have the tools to find patterns in it, but understanding those patterns calls for "efficient theory," according to a new report in BioScience.

Study: Culture influences strategy in online coordination game
July 16, 2014 -

People strategize better with those from their own culture and they are poor at predicting the behavior of those from different cultures, suggests a new study led by SFI External Professor Matthew O. Jackson.

Word borrowing: The humble beginnings of 'ecstasy' and 'quark'
- The Providence Journal
July 11, 2014 -

The Providence Journal follows the trail of two words -- ecstasy and quark (the latter adopted by SFI's Murray Gell-Mann from poetry into particle physics) -- from obscure origins to everyday English.

What is creativity, and how can we understand it?
July 10, 2014 -

SFI and the National Endowment for the Arts are holding a working group in Santa Fe this week to examie creativity through the lenses of cognitive science, psychology, education, the arts, neuroscience, and more.

Andreas Wagner elected to European Molecular Biology Organization
July 10, 2014 -

SFI External Professor Andreas Wagner has been elected to the European Molecular Biology Organization for his research in the evolution of biological systems from genomes to complex molecular networks.

Paper: When microbes join forces, useful new compounds emerge
- PLOS Computational Biology
July 9, 2014 -

In PLOS Computational Biology, Elhanen Borenstein and co-authors show that communities of microbial species commonly produce novel, potentially useful compounds that single species do not produce alone.

Video: Rapid urbanization calls for merging of perspectives, nuanced solutions
- Aspen Ideas Festival
July 8, 2014 -

Integrating the needs of people and governments is one key to the challenges of rapid urbanization, said SFI's Luis Bettencourt in a panel discussion on “Future Megacities and the Fate of Millions” at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Video: Modeling climate change scenarios right down to our own backyards
- Aspen Ideas Festival
July 7, 2014 -

At the Aspen Ideas Festival last weekend, Brian Enquist describes a project to develop a geographic inventory of forest assets for western North America and model how climate change will effect species distribution.

Regardless of our city's size, we all live in ‘villages’
- Journal of the Royal Society Interface
July 1, 2014 -

People who live in big cities and those who live in small towns might appear to lead very different social lives. Researchers at SFI and MIT find, however, that the social networks of city dwellers are not so different from those of village dwellers.

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