Bhattacharya at SFI (Photo: InsightFoto for the Santa Fe Institute)

SFI External Professor Tanmoy Bhattacharya of Los Alamos National Laboratory has been named a 2020 Laboratory Fellow. He is one of seven LANL scientists and engineers to receive this recognition for their scientific leadership.

Thom Mason, the Lab’s director, told the Los Alamos Reporter: “Recognizing the Fellows of Los Alamos National Laboratory is one of my proudest responsibilities. To be a Fellow is to be a leader at the Laboratory and within the scientific community at large.” He also thanked this year’s Fellows "for their dedication and exceptional contributions.”

Bhattacharya is known for his work across a wide array of research areas— particle physics and the physics of complex systems; phylogenetics and the emergence of evolutionary systems; HIV biology and vaccine design (with former SFI External Professor Bette Korber and External Professor and Science Board member Alan Perelson, both Los Alamos Laboratory Fellows); and computer security and machine learning with applications to the health sciences. Finally, his quantitative studies of linguistics and human behavior have been invaluable for advancing SFI’s long-running investigation into the origins, evolution, and diversity of human languages, which Bhattacharya co-leads with External Professor George Starostin (Russian State University for the Humanities).

"I think it really impressive that out of all SFI professors, Tanmoy has always shown the most interest in laws that determine various developments (from phonetics to semantics) in natural languages, and on their complex interactions with 'accidents' that make these laws hard to establish," Starostin writes. "He has been a vital 'bridge' between the largely empiricist approach to historical linguistics and the more theoretical (quantitative) approach typical of most scholars at SFI." 

“This is a much-deserved honor and I am very pleased for Tanmoy,” said Distinguished Shannan Professor and past SFI President Geoffrey West, who worked with Bhattacharya at the high-energy physics group at Los Alamos. West, who is also a retired senior fellow, lead in the group in the 1990s when Bhattacharya was a postdoc. (West also congratulates another 2020 Fellow, Ralph Menikoff, who was a postdoc in the group).

Bhattacharya and the other fellows were recognized in a virtual induction ceremony on October 14, 2020.