Santa Fe, October 1984. Many of the most accomplished creative minds in science—including four Nobel laureates—gather to create an institution unlike any other: where unconventional thinking flourishes and disciplinary boundaries fall away.

From this meeting emerged some of the most generative research programs of the last three decades, including the physics of living systems, the mathematics of society, quantitative archaeology, the nature of mind, fundamentals of complex systems theory—and the implications of all of these on the future. The original vision of a boundary-spanning research center became what Nature has called “that mecca of multidisciplinary complexity studies”: the Santa Fe Institute.

With a new foreword from SFI Founder-in-Residence David Pines, as well as never-before-published transcripts of the discussion sessions, this volume of seminal essays lays the foundation for thirty years of complexity science—and outlines challenges for thirty more.

ContributorsP. W. Anderson, Charles H. Bennett, Felix E. Browder, George A. Cowan, J. D. Cowan, Irven DeVore, Manfred Eigen, Marcus W. Feldman, Hans Frauenfelder, Harvey Friedman, Mardi J. Horowitz, B. A. Huberman, Murray Gell-Mann, Theodore T. Puck, M. P. Schutzenberger, Douglas W. Schwartz, Alwyn C. Scott, Jerome L. Singer, John Tooby, Anthony Turkevich, Frank Wilczek, Stephen Wolfram, Richard W. Wrangham

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Table of Contents


Foreword: The Quest for a Complex Unity, David C. Krakauer and Geoffrey West

Preface: An Institution Without Fiefdoms, David Pines

1: The Concept of the Institute, Murray Gell-Mann

~Part I: A Beautiful Possibility~

2: Spin Glass Hamiltonians: A Bridge Between Biology, Statistical Mechanics and Computer Science, P. W. Anderson

3: Macromolecular Evolution: Dynamical Ordering in Sequence Space, Manfred Eigen

4: Evolutionary Theory of Genotypes and Phenotypes: Toward a Mathematical Synthesis, Marcus W. Feldman

5: Prospects for a Synthesis in the Human Behavioral Sciences, Irven DeVore

6: The Emergence of Evolutionary Psychology, John Tooby

7: War in Evolutionary Perspective, Richard W. Wrangham

8: The Relationship of Modern Archaeology to Other Disciplines, Douglas Schwartz

9: Reconstructing the Past Through Chemistry, Anthony Turkevich

~Part II: A Fantastic Manipulation~

10: The Conscious and Unconscious Stream of Thought, Jerome L. Singer

11: Conscious and Unconscious Processes, Mardi J. Horowitz

12: Brain Mechanisms Underlying Visual Hallucinations, J. D. Cowan

13: Solitons in Biological Molecules, Alwyn C. Scott

14: The New Biology and its Human Implications, Theodore T. Puck

15: Biomolecules, Hans Frauenfelder

~Part III: A Good Machine~

16: Computing With Attractors: From Self-Repairing Computers to Ultradiffusion and the Application of Dynamical Systems to Human Behavior, B. A. Huberman

17: Fundamental Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, Frank Wilczek

18: Complex Systems Theory, Stephen Wolfram

19: Mathematics and the Sciences, Felix E. Browder

20: Applications of Mathematics to Theoretical Computer Science, Harvey Friedman

21: Linguistics and Computing, M. P. Schützenberger

22: Dissipation, Information, Computational Complexity and the Definition of Organization, Charles H. Bennett

~Part IV: Some Distant Crag~

23: Plans for the Future, George A. Cowan

Afterword: My Part in an Origin Story—The Founding of the Santa Fe Institute, Stephen Wolfram


Original Foreword to the 1988 Edition

Participants at the Founding Workshop

Agenda for the October 1984 Workshop

Transcripts of the Proceedings

The Aims of the Rio Grande Institute