From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki
I'm a South African PhD student at Oxford University, where I work at the Centre for the Environment. There's more about my work and my background in my answers to Dan's questions below. I'm very much looking forward to visiting Santa Fe, checking out the desert, and meeting and learning from all of you.
Answer's to Dan's questions:
1. What are your main interests? Feel free to include a "pie in the sky" big idea!
The main thrust of my research involves understanding how people make decisions in complex environments, in particular with regards to the management of environmental risks. There are both positive and normative aspects of this topic - I'm interested in understanding the behavioural, economic, and cultural factors that influence the decisions that people make, as well as how these decisions can be improved with novel analyses that face up to the highly nonlinear nature of most environmental risks. My work has focused mainly on the issue of managing climate variability, and adapting to climate change, with a particular focus on the role that information (often in the form of forecasts) plays in the decision process. In addition to this, I'm interested in collective action problems in environmental contexts, including the theory of common pool resources, and global public good provision strategies, particularly international agreements for combating global warming. In terms of methods, I like to build metaphorical mathematical models of decision maker's behaviour which highlight the factors that may be important in influencing outcomes. These are often based on the literature on agent behaviour from behavioural or evolutionary economics, more traditional economic theory, or agent-based social simulations.
2. What sorts of expertise can you bring to the group?
My background is in theoretical physics, but I have really attempted to break loose from its shackles and broaden my knowledge of a number of fields, including economics, psychology, climate science and policy, and environmental management, as well as more theoretical subjects such as evolutionary game theory and complex systems research in general. I hope that my smattering of each of these subjects will be of use to someone!
3. What do you hope to get out of the CSSS?
My main goal is to have a bunch of really stimulating conversations, and learn from my colleagues. I hope to absorb some of the techniques which are used in other fields, and apply them to the questions that I'm interested in. A major bonus would be meeting some people who are interested in similar questions and setting up a research collaboration.