(L–R) Anil Ananthaswamy and Adam Becker, SFI’s 2024 CSSS Journalism Fellows, at the Institute for American Indian Arts. (image: Katie Mast/SFI)

The Santa Fe Institute is delighted to announce Anil Ananthaswamy and Adam Becker as our 2024 Complex Systems Summer School Journalism Fellows. 

Each year, the CSSS Journalism Fellowship invites two accomplished journalists with a demonstrated interest in reporting on complexity-related topics to attend SFI’s iconic four-week Complex Systems Summer School. Participating fully as students, the Fellows learn about the history of and latest developments in complex-systems science from world-renowned lecturers. Fellows spend an additional self-directed week at SFI’s Cowan Campus to interact with resident and visiting researchers.  

This year’s fellows, both freelance science journalists based in California, arrive at SFI with a range of interests that will be fed by the conversations and lectures at CSSS and expertise of interest to the SFI research community. They will be in residence in Santa Fe from June 9 through July 12. 

“I am delighted that Anil and Adam will be joining us at SFI,” says SFI President David Krakauer. “With increasing specialization within the sciences, rigorous science writers have emerged as essential unifying voices, articulating the larger connected landscape of empirical intellection.”  

Ananthaswamy, formerly a staff writer and deputy news editor at New Scientist, now reports regularly for Quanta, Scientific American, and Nature and has contributed to other outlets including Nautilus, Discover, and Knowable. Each year, Ananthaswamy organizes and teaches a science-writing workshop at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru, India. He has published three popular science books — The Edge of Physics, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and Through Two Doors at Once — with a fourth — Why Machines Learn: The Elegant Math Behind Modern AI — to be released on July 16.

“Having heard so much about SFI over the years, and having interviewed researchers who work there, I have built up an image of an institute that tackles difficult research questions, and supports researchers who dare to confront them,” says Ananthaswamy. “There's an unorthodoxy to SFI that's admirable. I'm looking forward to being there in person, and to experience this atmosphere first-hand and get a taste of what it means to be among researchers who are always thinking with multi-disciplinary mindsets.”

Becker, who completed a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Michigan before becoming a freelance journalist, has written for the New York Times, the BBC, NPR, Scientific American, Quanta, Veritasium, and others. He is also the author of two books: What is Real?, an affable account of the sordid untold history of quantum physics; and the forthcoming More Everything Forever, a critical look at ideas about the future that are influential in Silicon Valley. His new book will be published in early 2025. 

“This is a dream come true. I've fantasized about going to the Santa Fe Institute for years, ever since I was a graduate student in physics,” says Becker. “The intersection of subjects that meet at SFI is exactly where my interests lie, both professionally and personally. I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend five weeks in the high desert pursuing my intellectual passions.”

Now in its third year, the CSSS Journalism Fellowship has brought Dan Falk, Laura Spinney, and Kate Green to Santa Fe in recent years. 

A previous iteration of the Fellowship, which ran 2013–2015, brought journalists Christie Aschwanden, Kevin Allison, Catalina Arevalo, Sandra Blakeslee, Rhitu Chatterjee, Laurence Gonzales, Veronique Greenwood, Guy Gugliotta, Julie Rehmeyer, and Alexandra Witze to SFI.  

Applications for the 2025 fellowship will open early next year.