Wendy Ham

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki


Hello, I'm Wendy Ham, currently a first-year (soon to be second-year) PhD student at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. I'm excited to attend CSSS and hope to find opportunities for transplanting ideas across domains. My answers to Dan's questions are...

What are your main interests? Feel free to include a "pie in the sky" big idea!

My main interest at the moment revolves around problems and solutions:

How do problems and solutions find each other? This question is particularly interesting when the problem and the solution reside in completely different fields. Consistent with the Garbage Can model (Cohen, March, and Olsen, 1972), I believe that problems and solutions have their own lives. Is it possible to think about creating a "Noah's Ark" for all the solutions in the world? Can we learn something from the way the immune system prepares itself to counter all the possible antigens in the world by harnessing solutions in advance?

What sorts of expertise can you bring to the group?

I am a big fan of Herbert Simon (and the Carnegie School in general), so I'm up for discussing Simon's work anytime! Other than that, I can probably talk about how evolutionary biology has influenced organization studies. (I formerly studied molecular biology, so it's a nice surprise to see many biological concepts in social science.)

What do you hope to get out of the CSSS?

Meet wonderfully interdisciplinary people, cross-pollinate ideas, learn some modeling and simulation techniques, and hopefully bring back some deep insights about complex systems :)

Do you have any possible projects in mind for the CSSS?

Nothing specific yet, but I do hope to develop some ideas for investigating the questions on problems and solutions above.

I look forward to meeting everyone! Please feel free to contact me at or visit my website at