SFI’s Vice President for Science Jennifer Dunne was elected a Fellow of the Network Science Society (NetSci) for her “pioneering work elucidating the network structure of ecology, particularly food webs, highlighting the interplay of dynamics and structure of networks.” Her award was presented during an online ceremony Sept. 24, as part of the virtual NetSci 2020 conference.

NetSci also awarded SFI External Professor Sonia Kéfi (University of Montpelier) the Erdős-Renyi Prize, an annual award for a scientist under 40, for Kéfi’s “foundational and empirically grounded theoretical research that has advanced network science and its applications in ecology, with a focus on multiple types of interactions among species and the implications for global change, opening the path to new ways to study ecosystems.”

“For her prolific contributions to complex systems science and artificial intelligence,” SFI Davis Professor Melanie Mitchell received the New England Complex Systems Institute’s 2020 Herbert Simon award. The award is presented annually at the International Conference on Complex Systems, in recognition of a researcher’s lifetime contribution to complex systems science.

SFI’s Susan Carter, Director for Sponsored Research, was named a Charter Fellow by the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP). “Considered the highest professional honor” the organization bestows, the fellowship recognizes members who have “worked tirelessly to advance research development.” Research development, according to the NORDP website, “encompasses a set of strategic, catalytic, and capacity-building activities that advance research, especially in higher education. Research Development professionals help researchers become more successful communicators, grant writers, and advocates for their research. Research Development professionals also serve their institutions. They create services and resources that transcend disciplinary and administrative barriers.” (See also “humanities” on p.1)

The high-profile journal Physical Review Letters picked a paper co-authored by SFI Professor Sidney Redner as an Editor’s Suggestion. “Optimization in First-Passage Resetting” was selected for being “particularly important, interesting, and well written.” 

SFI Professor David Wolpert and Omidyar Fellow David Kinney won second place in an essay contest run by the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi). The panel of judges cited “the discussion of the role of mathematicians as imperfect reasoners as novel and interesting.” Their essay, titled “Noisy Deductive Reasoning: How Humans Construct Math, and How Math Constructs Humans,” is published online at fqxi.org.

SFI’s signature Community Lecture series was voted #2 Best Lecture Series in the Santa Fe Reporter’s annual Best of Santa Fe contest. Normally held in The Lensic theater and streamed online, the 34-year series brings leading thinkers to Santa Fe to explore the most alluring questions in science. 2020’s programming has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Network scientist Raissa D’Souza, an SFI external professor based at UC Davis, was appointed to the board of reviewing editors at Science magazine— one the world’s top peer-reviewed journals. She will assist the editors in “identifying those manuscripts to be sent for in-depth review in the fields of network science, applied mathematics, and machine learning” and “also play an active role in shaping the research that is highlighted in Science, in particular concerning new developments deserving of a perspective or a review, and exciting research reported at meetings.”

An interdisciplinary research team including SFI External Professor Mercedes Pascual was awarded a $12.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to start a new biology institute — Genomics and Eco-evolution of Multi-scale Symbioses (GEMS). The institute will bring together “molecular, organismal, computational, and theoretical approaches” to biology.

The European Social Simulation Association (ESSA) honored SFI External Faculty Fellow Joshua Epstein (New York University) with its most prestigious award — The Rosaria Conte Award for Outstanding Social Simulation. A pioneer and world leader in agent-based modeling, Epstein was among the first scientists to use bottom-up simulation to replicate the statistical macrostructures seen in complex social systems.