First announced in the 1987 Santa Fe Institute Bulletin, SFI's Community Lecture series aimed to "increase the general public's understanding of the sciences of complexity and their relevance to today's society."

We continue this endeavor by bringing speakers from all over the world and across science to share their knowledge with the people of Santa Fe, always with an eye towards complexity. And now, this lecture series is streamed live and recorded for our broad global audience. These lectures have always been free to attend, and hanks to philanthropic funding from long-time SFI supporters Ian and Sonnet McKinnon, the same is true for our 2022 series.

Below you'll find a complete list of every SFI Community Lecture to date. We will continue to add more fantastic content to this archive, as lecture videos are published.


  • Stuart Kauffman: “Order from Chaos: Different Ways of Thinking about the Origin of Life”
  • Harold Morowitz: “The Zen of Biology: Life Sciences in the Computer Age”



  • Lynn Nadel: “Maps of the Brain”
  • Robert Schrieffer: “High Temperature Superconductivity”



  • James Gleick: “Chaos”
  • Leslie Orgel: “The Origins of Life”
  • James Bower: “Hands-On Science in Elementary Schools: A New Old Approach”
  • John Archibald Wheeler: “Can We Ever Expect to Understand Existence”
  • Brian Arthur: “Economic Survival in a High-Tech World”
  • Philip Lieberman: “The Origin of Language”
  • Linda Cordell: “With Trowels, Lasers and Computers: A View of the Ancient Southwest”
  • Russell Mitermeier & Mark Plotkin: “Conserving the Tropical Forests: Global Imperative for the 90s”



  • Doyne Farmer: “The Future Evolution of Life”
  • James Pelkey: “Entrepreneurs, Venture Capital and Technological Innovation: The Emergence of a New Industry”
  • John Holland: “Learning in Machines and Man”
  • Ilya Prigogine: “The End of Science”
  • John Harte: “Global Warming: Causes, Consequences, and Cures”
  • William Schopf: “The Earliest History of Life: Solution to Darwin’s Dilemma” 



  • Marcus Feldman: “Nature, Nurture, and Numbers: How to Interpret Heritability”
  • Alvy Ray Smith: “Computer Graphics, Personal Computers, and Complexity"
  • David Campbell: “Nonlinear Phenomena: From Paradigms to Practicality”
  • Donald Glaser: “The Human Visual System: Should you Believe What You See?"
  • Edward Knapp: “A Model for the Future of Science”
  • Jose Schienkman & Alvin Baum: “Growth in Cities” Toward a Technological Innovation or Urban Failure”
  • Marc Lappe: “Justice and the Human Genome: Social and Ethical Issues of New Biology”
  • James Crutchfield: “Thermodynamics of the Artificial”
  • Geoffrey West: “Scaling in Nature”



  • Christopher Langton: “Artificial Life”
  • Stephen Lansing: “The Goddess and the Computer”
  • Tom Furness: “Virtual Reality”
  • Joshua Epstein: “Complex Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Global Welfare”
  • Johan Maynard Smith: “Major Transitions in Evolution”
  • Tom Ray: “Virtual Life: Evolution of Digital Organisms”
  • Murray Gell-Mann: “Getting Creative Ideas”



  • George Gumerman: “Anasazi Prehistory Reconsidered”
  • Blake LeBaron: “What Does the Stock Market Tell Us About Real-World Behavior?”
  • Oliver Sacks: “Neurology and the Soul”
  • Will Wright: “Software Toys: Computer Modeling for Everyone”
  • David Campbell: “Chaos, Order and Patterns: Paradigms for our Nonlinear Universe”
  • Charles Stevens: “The Brain as a Computer”
  • Robert McCormick Adams: “Reflections on Ancient and Modern Iraq”
  • Dee Hock: “On the Nature of Beasts: Adaptation and Learning in Institutions”
  • John Horner: “The New Age of Dinosaurs”
  • Roger Shepard: “Perception, Pictures, and Paradoxes: What Illusions Reveal About the Mind”



  • John Rundle: “Predicting Earthquakes: New Ideas from the Sciences of Complexity”
  • Jack Corliss: “Biosphere 2 as a Laboratory for Global Ecology”
  • Murray Gell-Mann: “The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and Complex”
  • John Holland: “Complexity Made Simple” – The First Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture
  • Francis Crick: “How Do We See Things?”
  • Mitchel Resnick: “How Birds Flock and Traffic Jams: Helping Students See the World in New Ways”
  • Walter Alvarez: “Extinction of the Dinosaurs: Giant Impact and the Mexican Connection”
  • Deborah Gordon: “The Dynamics of Ant Colony Behavior”



  • Susan Kieffer: “Rivers, Geysers, and Volcanoes: Geologic Nozzles”
  • Ned Kahn: “The Garden of Complexity”
  • Howard Gardner: “The Unschooled Mind: Implications for Education and Leadership”
  • Chuck Paul: “Science on Ice: Laboratory Antarctica”
  • Barbara King: “The Information Continuum: Evolution and Social Information Donation in Primates”
  • Mark Miller: “Taste as a Complex System”
  • Stuart Kauffman: “At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity”
  • Alan Perelson: “Warriors Within: How Your Immune System Combats Disease” – The Second Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture
  • Dean Falk: “Understanding Human Brain Evolution”
  • Marc Feldman: “The Bell Curse: Cultural Transmission, Heritability, Race, and Politics”



  • David Marvit: “Multi-User Environments for the Masses” 
  • George Lakoff: "The Adaptive Mind and Moral Politics"
  • Paul Ewald: “Converting Medical Swords into Plowshares: Evolutionary Tools for Epidemiological Problems”
  • Stephen Pinker: "How the Human Mind Creates Language”
  • Gerald Fischbach: “Change in the Brain: The Plasticity of the Brain’s Synaptic Connections”
  • Simon Levin: “The Emergence of Diversity: Self Organization and Ecological Systems” – The Third Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture



  • Barouch Fischoff: “Risk and the Public”
  • Sherry Turkle: “Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet”
  • Steven Durlauf: “The New Economics of Inequality”
  • K. Winslow Farrell, Jr.: “Using Computer Simulations in Business: More Than a Game”
  • Jonathan Same: “Epidemiology: Finding Patterns and Causes of Health and Disease”
  • Lynn Nadel: “Stress, the Brain, and Memory”
  • Jonathan Haas: “New Mexico in 1500: Pueblo Life Before European Contact”
  • Melanie Mitchell: “The Past and Future of the Sciences of Complexity” – The Fourth Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture
  • Paula Tallal: “Attacking Disabilities: Integrating Technology and Neuroscience”
  • Lynn Margulis: “Gaia to Microcosm”



  • Frank Sulloway: “Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics and Creative Lives”
  • Tom Gehrels: “The Beauty and Danger of Comets and Asteroids”
  • John Casti: “In Search of the Limits to Scientific Knowledge”
  • Geoffrey West: “Fractals and the Tree of Life: A Unifying Theme for Creatures”
  • Lee Smolin: “The Life of the Cosmos”
  • Frances Arnold: “Unnatural Selection: Proteins of the Future”
  • John Padgett: “Making a State: The Rise of the Medici”
  • Brian Arthur: “Complex Economics” –The Fifth Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture
  • John Miller: “Complexity and the Political Process”
  • James Crutchfield: “Arts and the Artificial: A Three-Lecture Series”
  • George Johnson: “Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order"



  • Bernardo Huberman: “The Laws of the World Wide Web”
  • Shripad Tulijapurkar: “Social Security: Gambling with your Future”
  • “Allen Hammond: “Which World? Scenarios for the 21st Century”
  • Tom Sigfried: “Science, Media and Public: A Complex Maladaptive System”
  • Elliott Sober: “The Evolution of Altruism"
  • Murray Gell-Mann: “The Regular and the Random” – The Sixth Annual Stanlslaw Ulam Memorial Lecture
  • Janis Giorgi: “Uninfectable: The Question of Cellular Immunity to HIV”
  • Andy Clark: “Leaky Systems”



  • George Gumerman: “Growing the Anasazi in a Computer: Creating Alternative Culture Histories”
  • Persi Diaconis: “On Coincidences”
  • Norman Johnson: “The Fall of the House of Experts, or a Reason to be Hopeful About the Future”
  • Benoit Mandlebrot: “Fractals and Multifractals in Art and Finance”
  • Douglas Erwin: “Evolutionary Innovations: How Ecology and Development Combine to Change the World”
  • Michael Cohen: “Harnessing Complexity: Organizational Implications of a Scientific Frontier”
  • Avidan Neumann: “Hepatitis C-Virus – Y2K Health Threat Alert: A Client Epidemic with Rapid Viral Dynamics”
  • Charles Stevens: “The Brain as a Complex System” – The Seventh Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture
  • Vera John-Steiner: “Flights and Resting Places: Discovering Complimentarity in Scientific Collaboration”
  • Timothy Kohler: “Delight Makers and Delight Takers in the Archeology of Bandolier National Monument”



  • Martin Nowal: "Evolution of Language”
  • John Mazziotta: “Mapping the Human Brain in Health and Disease”
  • Naomi Oreskes: “Science vs. National Security: from Harald Sverdrup to Wen Ho Lee”
  • Walter Bortz: “Redefining Human Aging”
  • Everette Rogers: “The Diffusion of Innovations and Informatics Start-Ups in Santa Fe”
  • Dan Schrag: “A Snowball Earth”
  • Bruce Sterling: “Tomorrow Now, the Look and Feel of the 21st Century”
  • Sam Bowles: “In Search of “Homo economicus”: Experiments on Five Continents”
  • Geoffrey West: “Scaling the Tree of Life” –The Eighth Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture Series



  • Bette Korber, Alan Perelson, Rajan Gupta & Trevor Hawkins: “The Science of a Pandemic – Four Short Lectures and a Panel Discussion”
  • Evelyn Fox Keller: “Making Sense of Life”
  • John Harte: “Predicting Climate Change in a Complex Biosphere: A Daunting Challenge”
  • Alison Gopnik: “The Scientist in the Crib: How Children Learn and What They Tell Us About the Mind.”
  • Doyne Farmer: “Parables from the Study of Complex Systems and Their Possible Meanings in our Lives” – The Ninth Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture Series
  • Stephen Lansing: “Rice Paddies, Coral Reefs, and the Goddess of the Lake”
  • Peter Galison: “Einstein’s Clocks. Poincaré’s Maps”



  • Stewart Brand: “Discounting, Karma, and Finessing the Future”
  • Duncan Watts: “Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age”
  • Daniel Dennett: “Avoiding Disasters in Deterministic Universes”
  • April Benasich: “Predicting Language Performance in Preschoolers: The Role of Infant Information Processing Abilities”
  • Lord Robert May: “The Future of Biological Diversity in a Crowded World”
  • Nicholas de Monchaux: “Spacesuit: 21 Stories and Statements on Technology and Design”
  • John Geanakoplos: “Mortages and Mathematics”
  • George Lakoff: “Where Mathematics Comes From”
  • Lucia Jacobs: “Women, Men, and the Evolution of Spatial Navigation”
  • Richard C. Lewontin: “The Coevolution of Organism and Environment” – The Tenth Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture 



  • Jeffrey Sachs: “Explaining the Persistence of Extreme Poverty in a World of Unprecedented Wealth”
  • Charles M. Falco: “Through a Looking Glass: Rethinking 600 Years of European Art”
  • Mercedes Pascual: “Disease-Climate Couplings in a Nonlinear World”
  • Robert A. Eisenstein: “The Santa Fe Institute: Celebrating 25 Years of Scientific Excellence”
  • Seth Lloyd: “Measuring Complexity”
  • Hillard Kaplan: “Babies, Brains, and Lifespans: The Bioeconomics of the Human Life Course”
  • Henry Wright: “Raising Civilization” – The Eleventh Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture
  • Martina Morris: “Partnership Networks and HIV: Global Consequences of Local Decisions”



  • Maria Zuber: “The Carbon Cycle, Climate Variability, and the History of Water on Mars”
  • Jeremy B.C. Jackson: “Brave New Ocean”
  • Joshua M. Epstein: "Generative Social Science: Applications of Agent Based Modeling”
  • Marcia McNutt: “Engineering the Ocean”
  • Mark Newman: “The Internet, Epidemics, and Kevin Bacon: The Emerging Science of Networks” 
  • Robert Kirshner: “The Accelerating Universe: A Blunder Undone”
  • Marcus Feldman: “Molecules, Machines, and Mathematics: Issues in Biological and Social Evolutionary” – The Twelfth Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture





  • Felice Frankel: “More Than Pretty Pictures: The Power of Images in Science”
  • Scott. E Page: “The Difference: How the Power of the Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies”
  • Eric Smith: “Inevitable Life?
  • Bun Luce: “New Mexico’s Renewable Energy Future”
  • Dan Rockmore: “Stylish Mathematics
  • Elizabeth Wood: “Sexual Violence During War”
  • Terrance Odean: “Investor Behavior and Market Efficiency”
  • Daniel Schrag: “Ancient Perspective on Future Climate” – The Fourteenth Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture
  • Stephanie Forrest: “Borders and Gateways: Computer Networking in Everyday Life”
  • Brian Arthur: “Technology Creating Technology”




2009 (Partial List)

  • Amory Lovins: "What Will It Cost the Earth to Save the Planet?
  • The Sixteenth Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture Series: “Adventures in the Simple and the Complex – A Tribute to Murray Gell-Mann:
    • Chris Llewellyn-Smith
    • Mark Pagel
    • Daniel Schrag
  • Special Collaboration with the Santa Fe Symphony: “Voyages of Discovery: the Parallel Lines and Inventions of Darwin and Medelssohn”