The Principles of Complexity: Life, Scale, and Civilization - Speaker Bios Aug 8

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Luis Bettencourt, Santa Fe Institute
Luís M. A. Bettencourt is a Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and a former Senior Research Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He obtained his PhD from Imperial College, University of London, in 1996 for work on critical phenomena in the early Universe, and associated mathematical techniques of Statistical Physics, Field Theory and Non-linear Dynamics. He held postdoctoral positions at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, as a Director’s Fellow in the Theoretical Division at LANL, and at the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT. In 2000 he was awarded the distinguished Slansky Fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory for excellence in interdisciplinary research. Luís carries research in the structure and dynamics of complex systems, with an emphasis on dynamical problems in biology and society. Currently he works on real time epidemiological estimation, information processing in complex systems, innovation in science and technology and urban organization and dynamics. He is a member of advisory committees for international conferences and referees for journals in physics, mathematics, computer science, computational biology, urban studies and for international fellowship programs. He is the Principal Investigator of the Synthetic Cognition team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is pursuing new science and technology for image and video processing inspired by biological insights. He is also a consultant for the Office Science and Technology Information of the US Department of Energy on the subject of Scientific and Technological Innovation and Discovery.

James Brown, University of New Mexico and SFI External Professor
James Brown grew up in upstate New York, attended Cornell University, and received his Ph. D. from the University of Michigan. He has held faculty appointments at the University of California at Los Angeles, University of Utah, University of Arizona, University of New Mexico, and Santa Fe Institute. He is known for his research in desert ecocosystems, biogeography, ecological theory, and biological scaling. He is considered “the father of macroecology,” a large-scale, statistical, informatics-based discipline that offers powerful insights into contemporary problems of global change and human ecology. He has trained numerous undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs, many of whom now hold influential positions in academia, NGOs, government agencies, and the private sector. He has received several honors and awards, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Odum Award for teaching and the MacArthur Award for research from the Ecological Society of America, the Merriam Award from the American Society of Mammalogists, the Marsh Award from the British Ecological Society, and the Grinnell Medal from the University of California at Berkeley.

Andrew Cabaniss, University of North Carolina
Andrew Cabaniss is an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill studying Classical Archaeology. His work focuses primarily on large-scale behaviors and trends in ancient societies, incorporating statistical methods and geologic data. He has conducted fieldwork in Spain and New Mexico, and worked on interpreting bioarchaeological data from the Imperial Cemeteries of Rome as well as settlement patterns in the Valley of Mexico.

Lily Blair, Stanford University and Santa Fe Institute
I received my bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics and am generally interested in mathematical analysis of different fields. Most of my work has been in biomedical fields. More specifically, I studied vascular patterning and development and am now working on virus diversification patterns within individuals with HIV and HCV. I plan to continue work in biology at Stanford University in the fall. I am also currently working with SFI archaeologists on a project to evaluate what leads to the emergence of primary states. I have been expanding and analyzing existing databases to determine how different factors correlate to a measure of the complexity of archaeological traditions.