"Black and white dice on loaded scale" by Carole J. Lee via Wikimedia Commons
Virtual Discussion
  US Mountain Time
Simon A. Levin and Olivia Chu

Our campus is closed to the public for this event.

CounterBalance is the Santa Fe Institute's applied seminar series on belief dynamics, focusing on issues such as cyberhate, misinformation, disinformation, and social polarization. The intention of these meetings is two-fold. First, these seminars provide a clearinghouse for practitioners, policy makers, and scholarly researchers to share and discuss new insights. Second, these seminars provide an opportunity to contextualize these insights within the broader understanding of complexity science. 

The tenth session in our series will focus on polarization. Extreme polarization is a dangerous phenomenon that requires greater scientific attention to address effectively. In particular, polarization can hinder social coordination. By viewing political systems as complex adaptive systems, we can deepen our understanding of the dynamics of political polarization and related trends. This meeting, based on last month’s special feature in PNAS, will feature presentations by Simon Levin and Olivia Chu. (Other SFI-affiliated researchers contributing the PNAS special feature above include Jenna Bednar, Stephanie Forrest, and Scott Page.)


Dynamics of Polarization

09:00 AM - 09:25 AMDynamics of Political Polarization
Simon Levin
09:25 AM - 09:45 AMDynamics of Political Polarization Q&A
Simon Levin
09:45 AM - 10:10 AMDynamics of Spatial Polarization
Olivia Chu
10:10 AM - 10:30 AMDynamics of Spatial Polarization Q&A
Olivia Chu


Simon Levin
Simon A. LevinScience Board at SFI; James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton, Princeton University & SFI
Simon A. Levin is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University and the Director of the Center for BioComplexity in the Princeton Environmental Institute.  His research examines the structure and functioning of ecosystems, the dynamics of disease, and the coupling of ecological and socioeconomic systems.  Levin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a Foreign Member of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, and the Istituto Lombardo (Milan).  He has over 500 publications and is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity and the Princeton Guide to Ecology.  Levin’s awards include: the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences, Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, Margalef Prize for Ecology, the Ecological Society of America’s MacArthur and Eminent Ecologist Awards, the Luca Pacioli Prize (Ca’Foscari University of Venice), the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the National Medal of Science, and BBVA Frontiers in Knowledge Award 2022. Website Link
Olivia Chu
Olivia ChuNeukom Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dartmouth
Olivia is a Neukom Postdoctoral Fellow in the departments of mathematics and sociology at Dartmouth. Her research focuses on the dynamics of human behavior and in particular, the effects that different forms of heterogeneity have on these dynamics. She uses a combination of mathematical modeling (including evolutionary game theory and opinion dynamics models), computational simulations, and data collection and analysis. Olivia employs these methods to study group-structured populations and the interplay between behavior, personality, group memberships, and interactions, with applications to the evolution of cooperation, social integration, and polarization. Before coming to Dartmouth, she received her Ph.D. in Quantitative and Computational Biology from Princeton, and her B.A. in Mathematics from NYU.

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