Historian Andrea Wulf and philosopher John Kaag have been named Miller Scholars at the Santa Fe Institute for 2019. The Miller Scholarship is the most prestigious visiting position at SFI, awarded to highly accomplished, creative thinkers who make profound contributions to our understandings of society, science, and culture.
Wulf is an award-winning author of five books. Her latest, New York Times best-seller The Invention of Nature, published in 2015, delves into the life of German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, whose travels and insights revealed similarities in ecosystems around the world, predicted human-induced climate change, and spawned the modern environmental ethic. It’s published in 26 countries and won fourteen international awards. Her forthcoming book, The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, is a graphic non-fiction book which will be published by Pantheon in spring 2019.
She has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. Wulf is a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013. She’s a member of PEN American Center, an International Fellow of the Explorer’s Club, a member of The Society of Woman Geographers, a Fellow of the Linnean Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Kaag is the acclaimed author of six books that explore his wide-ranging interests, from drone warfare to the origins of the imagination to the intellectual history of thought and the evolution of ideas. His book American Philosophy: A Love Story was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a 2016 NPR Best Book of the Year, and the recipient of the 2018 John Dewey Prize for Best Book in American Intellectual History.
The sequel to American Philosophy, entitled Hiking with Nietzsche, was published to critical acclaim in 2018 and was also named a Best Book by NPR for the year. In this work, Kaag blends personal memoir with meditations on classical philosophers to uncover the wisdom within their writings and apply it to 21st-century dilemmas.
Kaag has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harper’s Magazine, and the Paris Review among others. He is the current Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has held academic fellowships at the Harvard Humanities Center and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“We are delighted that John Kaag and Andrea Wulf will be joining us as new Miller Scholars in 2019,” remarks SFI President David Krakauer. “Both John and Andrea work outside of the quantitative natural sciences, yet their work focuses on individuals and communities that overlap in considerable and deep ways with the ambitions and philosophy of the community of the Santa Fe Institute. SFI benefits enormously from thinkers like Andrea and John who make the life of the mind their focus, helping us to better understand the broader currents moving and molding our intellectual pursuits, and by bringing a true diversity of thought into our daily lives and conversations. Andrea and John will be joining existing Miller Scholar Laurence Gonzales, who is finishing up his historically situated inquiry into the unique culture and personalities of the Santa Fe Institute.”
Scholars are internally nominated and may have backgrounds in the humanities, arts, or sciences. During their stay at SFI, Miller Scholars are free to devote their time to scholarship on any topic.
They are encouraged to interact and collaborate with resident and visiting scientists, with the goal of catalyzing and crystallizing ongoing research at SFI.
Wulf and Kaag will reside at the Institute part- time in 2019, as the ninth and tenth Miller Scholars since SFI Chair Emeritus Bill Miller conceived and underwrote the scholarship in 2010. They join author Laurence Gonzales (2016-2019) and follow philosopher and biographer Ray Monk (2017), author Neal Stephenson (2015-2016), author Hampton Sides (2015), actor-author-playwright Sam Shepard (2012-2013), philosopher Rebecca Goldstein (2011-2012), philosopher Daniel Dennett (2010), and quantum mechanic Seth Lloyd (2010).