Trustees Symposium at the Santa Fe Institute

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I'm sitting in the audience at the Santa Fe Institute annual fall Trustees Symposium, between Paula Sabloff, a faculty member at SFI, and Abhas Jha from the World Bank, a speaker at the meeting.  The Santa Fe Institute was founded about 28 years ago by a group of physicists to study the dynamics of systems that are nonlinear, interacting, and self-adapting.  Since that time, the focus of the institute has ranged broadly from physics to economics, to finance, social dynamics, networks, cities, ecology, and the origins of life itself.

I have been coming to SFI for about 20 years.  I find it to be a very welcoming place populated by scientists and others who welcome new ideas, new approaches to old ideas, and cross-fertilzation of fields.  There are about a half dozen permanent faculty, about 100 external faculty (of which I am one), and perhaps a dozen post doctoral fellows in residence at any one time.  

The cross section of visitors itself is fascinating.  Well known political leaders, Nobel laureates, Pulitzer-prize winning authors,  talk show hosts, distinguished faculty from major universities, movie stars, and everyone in between can be found here. Everyone is united in their interest in the use of new methods to solve some of societies most pressing problems.

The theme of this symposium is resilience, an appropriate theme considering the impact of hurricane Sandy earlier in the week.  We also initiated a new SFI Working Group on risk, the flip side of resilience.  Membership on this group is from universities, major financial institutions, national labs, the World Bank, SFI, and Google.

In the photo below, Abhas Jha lectures on disaster resilience.