Beyond Borders: David Krakauer on fractal organizations and fractal faculty

A BEYOND BORDERS column by David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute.

By all accounts Plato was a zealot for geometry. In The Republic he wrote: “We must order in the strongest possible terms that the men of your Ideal City shall in no way neglect geometry.” The source of Plato's advocacy relates to his use of geometry — in particular ideas bearing on the indivisibility of lines — as a metaphor for the parts and the whole that define Being. . . . 

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Sam Bowles and Wendy Carlin on 'Rethinking economics during the pandemic'

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised difficult questions about the institutions, principles, and practices that underlie our economic systems. We would do well to respond to these questions by taking a more direct look at how well our current economic models respond to the empirical realities we face, write SFI Professor Sam Bowles and External Professor Wendy Carlin in an op-ed for The Financial Express.

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Simon Levin on 'Evolving an Ecological Perspective'

What does ecological thinking look like? For SFI Science Board Member Simon A. Levin, adopting an ecological perspective involves thinking about the interplay between interdependence and adaptation. His op-ed appears in the Winter 2020 issue of The Bridge.

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Susan Fitzpatrick on 'Complexity Blind Spots'

In the latest issue of The Bridge, SFI Science Board member Susan Fitzpatrick describes how efficiency can lead to fragility, and advocates for using complex systems thinking to inform our engineered social systems.

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Dan Rockmore: 'Three mathematicians we lost in 2020'

When a great mathematician dies, we lose direct access to a rare and brilliant mind. In 2020, three great mathematicians died: John Conway, Ronald Graham, and Freeman Dyson. In a beautiful memorial published in The New Yorker, SFI External Professor Dan Rockmore helps us recollect the wonders of each man’s singular genius.

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Jennifer Dunne reflects on a year without ‘superpowers’

The Santa Fe Institute has always been defined by its ability to bring diverse, leading thinkers into the same room to tackle important research questions. So for SFI, 2020 has been something like stepping into that red chamber in the Fortress of Solitude. Jennifer Dunne, SFI’s Vice President for Science, jokes that the pandemic, with its necessary restrictions on in-person gatherings, “took away our superpower.” In this Q&A, Dunne talks about which aspects of SFI science can and cannot be replicated in a virtual environment, and what this means going into 2021.

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Nautilus: Playing Go with Darwin

In a new op-ed at Nautilus, SFI President David Krakauer explains that the key moves in evolution bear a striking resemblance to those that animate the game of Go.

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Aeon: All stars

In their recent essay in Aeon, SFI Professor Jessica Flack and collaborator Cade Massey (Wharton School, University of Texas) argue that complexity science can help us improve our strategies for building teams.

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Nautilus: A Model for a Just COVID-19 Vaccination Program

In their op-ed for Nautilus, SFI External Professor Melanie Moses (University of New Mexico) and her colleague Kathy L. Powers (University of New Mexico), argue that if scientists are to help public health policymakers meet their stated goal of protecting the most vulnerable, they must refine their methods to focus on the complex systems that govern communities that are most at risk.

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