Networks are everywhere – the Internet, roads, the power grid, our social connections, even the chemical interactions that power the cells in our bodies. The science of networks, a field that has come of age in the last decade, is illuminating never-before-seen relationships and patterns all around us.

In three lectures over three nights this week, as part of SFI’s 2010 Ulam Lecture series, External Professor Mark Newman, a physics and complex systems professor at the University of Michigan, described some of the insights network science offers. Mark, a member of SFI’s Science Board, has studied networks in fields ranging from sociology and economics to computer science and biology, contributed to the fundamental understanding of network science, and made computer models of many networks.

Watch "The Connected World," September 14 – Some networks are obvious: the Internet, the road network, the power grid. Others are less so: our social networks, or the metabolic network of chemical machinery that powers the cells in our bodies. SFI's Mark Newman introduces a range of networks and describes the experiments scientists do to learn about them.

Watch "What Networks Can Tell Us About the World," September 15 – The study of networks can tell us many things about the systems they describe. We can learn who the real leaders are in a community or predict how individuals likely will vote in an election. We can improve transportation efficiency and minimize traffic snarls. SFI's Mark Newman describes some of the insights network science has brought us.

Watch "Using Networks To Make Predictions," September 16 – Some things we cannot know. If we want to vaccinate against next year's flu, for instance, we can’t know for certain if a particular vaccine will work until the outbreak starts. In some cases, the science of networks can help us make predictions. SFI's Mark Newman will show us how building mathematical and computer models can help us make better choices.

SFI’s Ulam Lecture series, held annually, is named for Polish mathematician and Manhattan Project contributor Stanislaw Ulam (1909-1984).

This lecture series is supported in part by Los Alamos National Bank.

See also: Santa Fe New Mexican article about 2010 Ulam Lectures