Author Neal Stephenson has been named a Miller Distinguished Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute. Stephenson visited the Institute this week and he will return for periodic visits through the end of 2016.
Stephenson is best known for his works of speculative fiction. His novels have been variously categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk. They explore such subjects as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, futurism, and the history of science. He is the author of The Big U, Zodiac, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age: or a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle series, Anathem, Reamde, Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing, and, most recently, Seveneves.
He also writes nonfiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired, and he has written novels with his uncle, George Jewsbury, under the collective pseudonym Stephen Bury. He has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company developing a manned sub-orbital launch system, and he is a cofounder of Subutai Corporation, whose first offering was the serialized, interactive, app-distributed fiction project The Mongoliad, which he co-wrote. He is currently the chief futurist at Magic Leap, a U.S. startup working on a head-mounted augmented-reality retinal display that superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects.
Stephenson will be the sixth SFI Miller Scholar since SFI Board Chair Emeritus Bill Miller conceived and underwrote the scholarship in 2010. Stephenson follows philosopher of science Daniel Dennett (2010), quantum physicist Seth Lloyd (2010-2011), actor/playwright Sam Shepard (2010-2011), philosopher/author Rebecca Goldstein (2011-2012), and author/narrative historian Hampton Sides (2015-2016).
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.
Scholars are internally nominated and may have backgrounds in the humanities, arts, or sciences. During their appointments with 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.