SFI has selected three eminent scholars as the first George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Chairs in Human Social Dynamics, to be referred to as the Cowan Professors: Robert Boyd, Ricardo Hausmann, and Mahzarin R. Banaji.

George Cowan is SFI’s founding president. He endowed the chair to attract leading social science researchers who have applied rigorous scientific methods in their fields, and who offer perspectives that are complementary to existing SFI research. The appointment is intended to bring accomplished scientists to SFI to help link existing research and catalyze interactions with and among of our SFI's resident faculty.

The three-year appointments began July 1, 2011, and end June 30, 2014.

Boyd, a longtime SFI External Professor and a professor of anthropology at UCLA since 1986, received his PhD in ecology at UC Davis. He has taught at Duke and Emory universities. Much of his research focuses on population and dynamic models of culture, and he has published on the evolution of social behavior, especially reciprocity and collective action. 

Hausmann, director of the Center for International Development and professor of the Practice of Economic Development, both at Harvard, earned a PhD in economics at Cornell University. In addition to positions with the government of Venezuela, he served as the first chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank and as chair of the IMF-World Bank Development Committee. His research interests include issues of growth, macroeconomic stability, international finance, and the social dimensions of development. 

Banaji, currently the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard, received her PhD from Ohio State University in 1986 and was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is an experimental psychologist who studies human thinking and feeling as it unfolds in social contexts. She is interested in the sub-conscious nature of assessments of self and other human beings that reflect feelings and knowledge about social group membership. 

More news in the SFI Update newsletter