Overview

The Miller Scholarship is the most prestigious visiting position at the Santa Fe Institute, and appointment is by internal nomination only. The position ranges from a few months to a year and offers a unique environment for highly accomplished, creative thinkers to catalyze transdiscipinary collaboration, synthesize ideas and methods from many disciplines, and enhance, or even define, new fields of inquiry. Miller Scholars both benefit from and contribute to ongoing scholarly research at SFI.

Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Miller Value Partners, and SFI Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus, Bill underwrites the Miller Scholars program. It is the express purpose of the Miller Scholarship, and a condition of the gift, that Miller Scholars contribute perspectives that are complementary or orthogonal to SFI’s mission. Miller Scholars are selected on the basis of profound contributions to our understanding of society and science, and/or contributions to the generation of culture. Accomplished artists, philosophers, and humanists without traditional quantitative training, in addition to quantitative scientists, are selected.

During their stay at SFI, Miller Scholars are free to devote their time to scholarship on any topic. Miller scholars are encouraged to collaborate with SFI resident faculty and postdoctoral researchers, and make use of the convening power of the Institute.

Terms are negotiated with SFI’s VP for Science and President. 

SFI Miller Scholars:

Daniel Dennett, Miller Scholar 2010

Philosopher of science, consciousness, and evolutionary theory Daniel Dennett's research focuses on philosophy as it relates to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He has written about and advocated the notion of memetics as a philosophically useful tool. At Tufts University, Dennett co-directed the Center for Cognitive Studies and is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy. He is an SFI external professor.

Seth Lloyd, Miller Scholar 2010-2011

'Quantum mechanic' Seth Lloyd is a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and an SFI external professor. His research centers on the interplay of information with complex systems, especially quantum systems. In his book Programming the Universe he contends that the universe itself is one big quantum computer producing what we see around us, and ourselves. He is principal investigator at the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics and directs MIT’s Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory.

Sam Shepard, Miller Scholar 2010-2011

Actor-playwright-director Sam Shepard is author of many plays, short stories, essays, and memoirs. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. He played roles in more than 40 films, most notably his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, which earned him an Academy Award nomination in 1983. He directed several of his own plays. Shepard spent 12 months at SFI as a Miller Scholar beginning in December 2010, and continued to engage with the Institute's scientists and occasionally spent time writing on SFI's Cowan Campus until his passing in 2017.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Miller Scholar 2011-2012

Novelist and professor of philosophy, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is the author of many successful books, including biographical studies of mathematician Kurt Gödel and philosopher Baruch Spinoza. She was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1996, was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and received both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Radcliffe Fellowship in 2006. She has also taught at several prestigious universities in New England and New York City.

Hampton Sides, Miller Scholar 2015

Best-selling narrative historian Hampton Sides is best-known for his gripping depictions of epic adventures of discovery and exploration. He is the author of Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, Hellhound on His Trail, and, In the Kingdom of Ice. An editor-at-large at Outside magazine and a frequent contributor to National Geographic, his journalistic works have been anthologized and have twice been named finalists in the National Magazine Awards. He is a partner of Atalaya Productions, an independent film company that develops nonfiction and historical stories for the screen. Sides divides his time between Santa Fe and Colorado Springs, where he teaches narrative nonfiction and serves as Journalist in Residence at The Colorado College.

Neal Stephenson, Miller Scholar 2015-2017

Author Neal 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 Seveneves

Laurence Gonzales, Miller Scholar 2016-2017

Author Laurence Gonzales is a professional explorer, rooted in what he calls a compulsion to write. By age eight, he was composing embryonic short stories. By the time he started college (for the third time, he never finished), he began publishing his poetry and short stories in various literary magazines.  His non-fiction book, Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival, is a detailed reconstruction of the crash of a fully-loaded DC-10. His novel is Lucy is a coming-of-age tale of a girl who is the result of a genetic experiment.

Ray Monk, Miller Scholar for 2017

Philosopher and biographer Ray Monk is a professor at the University of Southampton. His interests lie in the philosophy of mathematics, the history of analytic philosophy, and philosophical aspects of biographical writing.  He is the author of the award-winning biography Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius for which he won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 1991 Duff Cooper Prize. Monk’s other biographies include Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude and Inside the Centre: The Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer.