Orit Peleg

External Professor

Orit Peleg is a broadly trained physicist with a passion for living systems. Her research is aimed at understanding how organisms buffer themselves against large environmental fluctuations and accommodate adaptation over a wide range of length and time scales. This includes protein assemblies that remain intact under varying external mechanical and chemical stimuli, beetles that navigate using volatile celestial cues, and honeybee clusters that change their morphology to both withstand mechanical stresses, and to regulate their bulk temperature.

Peleg is an Assistant Professor at the Computer Science Department and the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. She draws from a multidisciplinary background; She holds a B.S. in physics and computer science and an M.S. in physics from Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She then moved to Switzerland to get her PhD in materials science at ETH Zurich, and then to Boston for a Postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University in first chemistry, and then applied mathematics.

Primary Institution: University of Colorado Boulder

Role/Title: Assistant Professor

Topics of Interest: Agent-based Modeling - Behavior - Biology - Evolution - Intelligence - Linguistics - Mathematics/Computer Science - Physics

How SFI changes your mind: The big picture questions scientists in SFI work on resonate deeply with my own research interests. I too, am seeking the shared patterns and regularities across physical, biological, and social systems. Even more resonating is SFI’s scientific approach where it is okay to be passionate about many different problems, follow seemingly disparate interests and create research problems from their intersections.

When and how you first got involved with SFI: My main engagement took place during an invited visit to SFI in fall 2018, hosted by Omidyar Fellow Josh Garland. I gave a seminar talk entitled “Intrinsically Disordered Living Systems”, which served as a base for many interesting discussions with SFI scientists.

Favorite Book: Educated

Favorite Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind