Prof W. Brian Arthur will give lectures on the history of the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), its role in the development of complexity science, and the birth of complexity economics. These lectures offer a unique opportunity to hear one of the legends of 20th century interdisciplinary science talk about the generation, history and impact of great ideas. Attendance is by invitation only.

W. Brian Arthur is one of the founders of SFI and has been at the centre of the development of complexity and complexity economics from its very beginning (35+ years ago). SFI was set up in 1984 to create a new kind of scientific community, one emphasizing multi-disciplinary collaboration in pursuit of understanding the common themes that arise in natural, artificial, and social systems. Brian was the leader of its first research program, and played a key role in shaping SFI and its style. He is also responsible for developing the theory of increasing returns in the economy, which has gone on to become the basic understanding by which Silicon Valley works. His memory is a treasure trove of the history of these fields and of innumerable anecdotes about the other leading scientists who made this history in the last 40 years. In his lectures, he will talk about the history of SFI, complexity, and Silicon Valley, and recount some of these stories.

His interlocutor will be J. Stephen Lansing, at present the co-director of the Complexity Institute at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Steve is also an external professor at the SFI, an emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, and a senior research fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Steve is a long-term collaborator with Brian and shares many stories and memories.​

 

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