Cover image: Michael Benson

The tension between the role of chance (contingency) and the regular patterns that underlie historical processes is a central challenge in understanding many complex systems. SFI's 2012 Bulletin explores the interplay of time and chance.

Read the 2012 SFI Bulletin here


SFI Faculty Chair Doug Erwin explains why the combination of time and contingency can make scientific progress in the historical disciplines difficult.

Science writer Krista Zala sketches the emerging theoretic insights about the origin of life of Earth. In a separate article she describes how the heretofore disconnected approaches of several scholarly disciplines might one day converge on an improved grasp of human migration.

Science writer Julie Rehmeyer shows how scientists seeking a vaccine for HIV might have found that killer's Achilles heel. Human trials employing their approaches are imminent.

SFI Science Board member Lord Robert May argues that the very features of ecological systems that lead to system robustness can teach us much about banking, and possibly help avert future financial crises.

Science writer John Whitfield explores what individuality means and deconstructs the complex interrelationships between individual actions and collective behaviors in both human and biological systems.

Also in the issue: new SFI research sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, a Q&A with SFI President Jerry Sabloff, a unique experiment that is monitoring evolution in (so far) 54,000 generations of E. coli, the new quantitative field of historical study Cliodynamics, and more.

Read the 2012 SFI Bulletin here

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