Studying ancient food webs can help scientists reconstruct communities of species, many long extinct, and even use those insights to figure out how modern-day communities might change in the future. There’s just one problem: only some species left enough of a trace for scientists to find eons later, leaving large gaps in the fossil record — and researchers’ ability to piece together the food webs from the past.
A new paper by paleoecologist Jack Shaw, SFI's Jennifer Dunne, and other researchers shines a light on those gaps and points the way to how to account for them.
What makes an explanation good enough? As a personal matter, people have different answers to this question, and not all of them agree, says a new paper in Trends in Cognitive Sciences by Simon DeDeo and Zachary Wojtowicz. The authors use Bayes’ Rule, a famous theorem in probability and statistics, to investigate what we value in scientific and moral explanations.
SFI External Professor Sara Walker (Arizona State University) is leading one of the eight teams exploring specific outstanding questions in astrobiology for NASA’s Astrobiology Program's new Interdisciplinary Consortia for Astrobiology Research. With SFI Professor Chris Kempes and other collaborators, the team will address the question: What detectable universal patterns distinguish living chemistries across diverse planetary environments?
A new working group, “The Birth and Death of Individuals,” which plans to develop a new interdisciplinary theory of birth, aging, and death, explored questions about death, from the individual to community scales to what it means to consider an idea or form of governance "dead" during a small planning meeting in November 2020.
Co-sponsored by SFI and the Institute for Advanced Studies of Aix-Marseille University, France (IMéRA), a virtual forum brought together network and complexity scientists, musicologists, music theorists, composers, performers, and neuroscientists to trade licks about the intersections of music and complexity from as many angles as possible.
SFI’s InterPlanetary Project has found a new way to celebrate the mutual influence of sci-fi and science. In a podcast interview series that launched November 18, host Caitlin McShea, SFI’s InterPlanetary Festival Director, asks artists, authors, athletes, and scientists to imagine one alien technology that could change the trajectory of human advancement.
Parts of the planet that are diverse biologically and culturally are even more diverse than you’d expect. A group of SFI collaborators developed a theory to show why richer environments are also more complex environments, where you tend to find more species and languages.
SFI Professors Chris Kempes and Michael Lachmann were both among the 50 awardees of this year’s John Templeton Foundation Ideas Challenge.
SFI External Professor André de Roos was named the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor in Environmental Science for 2021-22.
It’s widely assumed within the evolutionary biology field that weak selection provides an advantage to an organism’s ability to evolve. But new research, published in the journal Science, may offer the first experimental proof that strong selection pressure enhances an organism's evolvability, by boosting robustness.
In a new paper published in the journal Social Cognition, SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Jonas Dalege and co-author Han L. J. van der Maas use their network theory of attitudes to model implicit measures.
New book: Complexity Economics explores paradigm-busting influence of complex systems science on economics
In a new book published by the SFI Press, editors W. Brian Arthur, Eric Beinhocker, and Allison Stanger explore the paradigm-busting influence of complex systems science on economics.
The rise of online hate speech is a disturbing, growing trend in countries around the world, with serious psychological consequences and the potential to impact, and even contribute to, real-world violence. A new paper offers a framework for studying the dynamics of online hate and counter speech, and offers the first large-scale classification of millions of instances such interactions on Twitter.
In a post-election op-ed for The Conversation, SFI Professor Mirta Galesic and Wändi Bruine de Bruin at USC Dornsife describe their polling research with colleagues Henrik Olssen, SFI External Professor, and Drazen Prelec at MIT. The team found that if polls start to ask questions about how people think members of their social circle or state will vote, they tend to predict results with far greater accuracy.
It takes patience and plenty of good-will to transform a dynamic and intensive in-person summer program into a virtual experience that offers genuine and impactful connections. With the support of SFI Professor and Program Director Chris Kempes and Education Program Manager Carla Shedivy, ten students around the U.S. and 11 SFI researcher-mentors proved up to the task.