For 30 years, no one has been a more significant presence at the Santa Fe Institute than Murray Gell-Mann.
On Monday morning, August 10, the Institute honored New Mexico’s most prominent scientific figure by naming its iconic main building after him.
Watch the highlights video from the event on SFI's YouTube page (6 minutes, August 10, 2015)
"This building has become an embodiment of the threads of thought of all who pass through its doors," said Trustee Jerry Murdock, one of the handful of Gell-Mann's friends and colleagues who spoke during the hour-long ceremony, along with Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales. "Naming this building [after Murray Gell-Mann] makes explicit what was implicit, and is a long overdue."
During the invitation-only ceremony, Gell-Mann was commemorated for his genius, his humor, his tenacity, and his "unfailing kindness to younger scientists," in the words of Science Board member Seth Lloyd.
Gell-Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1969 for his groundbreaking work in elementary particle physics – including his theoretical prediction of subatomic particles called “quarks” – insights that changed the field of physics and launched new subfields. At the height of his career he helped found SFI and pioneer the field of complexity science, among his numerous other achievements.
Gell-Mann himself concluded the ceremony by expressing his gratitude to his friends and to the Institute, where "researchers work together," boldly, and across fields.
"Murray has achieved the near impossible, as both master of the regularities of the subatomic realm and as a rigorous polymath in the fields of complexity and linguistics,” says SFI President David Krakauer. "As if that were not enough, Murray helped found the Institute and provide the field of complexity science with the intellectual foundations necessary for significant future discoveries.”
“By naming this building in his honor,” Krakauer adds, “we ensure that his legacy of expansive rigorous synthesis inspires generations to come as he has inspired all of us – his colleagues and friends.”
Read the article in the Los Alamos Daily Post (August 10, 2011)
Read the article in the Albuquerque Journal (August 14, 2015)
Hear Seth Lloyd's song for Murray Gell-Mann, captured in Celia Lowenstein's documentary film (33:20)