Overview

Over the last three decades, the Santa Fe Institute and its network of researchers have been pursuing a revolution in science.

Ignoring the boundaries of disciplines and schools and searching for novel fundamental ideas, theories, and practices, this international community integrates the full range of scientific inquiries that will help us to understand and survive on a complex planet.

This volume collects essays from the past thirty years of research, in which contributors explain in clear and accessible language many of the deepest challenges and insights of complexity science.

Explore the evolution of complex systems science with chapters from Nobel Laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Kenneth Arrow, as well as numerous pioneering complexity researchers, including John Holland, Brian Arthur, Robert May, Richard Lewontin, Jennifer Dunne, and Geoffrey West.

Purchase Worlds Hidden in Plain Sight


Table of Contents

Introduction: The Santa Fe Institute Across the Decades
David C. Krakauer

1984–1999: Mavericks

1. Complex Adaptive Systems: A Primer, John H. Holland  

2. Bounded Rationality and Other Departures, Kenneth Arrow and George Cowan 

3. Can Physics Contribute to Economics? Richard Palmer 

4. Nature Conformable to Herself, Murray Gell-Mann 

5. The Simply Complex: Trendy Buzzword or Emerging New Science? John Casti 

6. Learning How to Control Complex Systems, Seth Lloyd  

7. Beyond Extinction: Rethinking Biodiversity, Simon Levin with Marty Peale  

8. What Can Emergence Tell Us About Today’s Eastern Europe? Cosma Shalizi  

9. The Evolutionary Dynamics of Social Organization in Insect Societies: From Behavior to Genes and Back, Joachim Erber and Rob Page 

2000–2014: Unifiers

10. Picasso and Perception: Attending to the Higher Order, Tom Kepler  

11. Four Complications in Understanding the Evolutionary Process, Richard C. Lewontin  

12. Searching for the Laws of Life: Separating Chance From Necessity, D. Eric Smith and Harold J. Morowitz  

13. Metaphors: Ladders of Innovation, David Gray and Michele Macready 

14. The Numbers of Our Nature: Is There a Math of Style? Daniel Rockmore 

15. On Time and Risk, Ole Peters 

16. Transcience: Disciplines and the Advance of Plenary Knowledge, David C. Krakauer 

17. What Biology Can Teach Us About Banking, Lord Robert May 

18. Imagining Complex Societies, Scott G. Ortman  

19. Complexity: A Different Way to Look at the Economy, W. Brian Arthur  

20. Life’s Information Hierarchy, Jessica C. Flack 

2015 AND BEYOND: Terraformers

21. Complexity: Worlds Hidden in Plain Sight, David C. Krakauer 

22. A Planet of Cities, Luís M.A. Bettencourt and Geoffrey B. West 

23. Predicting the Next Recession, Rob Axtell and J. Doyne Farmer  

24. Are Humans Truly Unique? How Do We Know? Jennifer A. Dunne and Marcus J. Hamilton 

25. Engineered Societies, Jessica C. Flack and Manfred D. Laubichler 

26. Why People Become Terrorists, Mirta Galešić  

27. Beehives and Voting Booths, John H. Miller 

28. The Complex Economics of Self-Interest, Samuel Bowles 

29. Water Management Is a Wicked Problem, But Not an Unsolvable One, Christa Brelsford 

30. What Can Mother Nature Teach Us About Managing Financial Systems? Simon Levin and Andrew Lo 

31. What Happens When the Systems We Rely on Go Haywire? John H. Miller 

32. When an Alliance Comes with Strings Attached, Paula L.W. Sabloff 

33. Thanksgiving 2050: To Feed the World We Have to Stop Destroying Our Soil, Molly Jahn 

34. How Complexity Science Can Help Keep the Lights On, Seth Blumsack  

35. The Source Code of Political Power, Simon DeDeo 

36. Why Predicting the Future Is More than Just Horseplay, Daniel B. Larremore and Aaron Clauset 

37. Emergent Engineering: Reframing the Grand Challenge for the 21st Century, David C. Krakauer