In October 1984, some of the most accomplished and creative minds in science and industry gathered in Santa Fe, New Mexico to lay the foundation for an unconventional research institution — a place where daring ideas could thrive free from traditional disciplinary boundaries. The group, which included four Nobel laureates, presented areas of cutting-edge research on emergent behavior and debated the details of governance, funding, and scholarship for what would soon become the Santa Fe Institute.

Thirty-five years later, that original vision continues to guide the Santa Fe Institute and its research on complex adaptive systems. Over the past three decades, SFI has offered a space for some of the most generative areas of research, from the physics of living systems, the mathematics of society, to the nature of the mind.  

Emerging Syntheses in Sciencea collection of the research presentations from the founding meeting, was first published by Addison-Wesley in 1988. In this new editionSFI President David Krakauer offers a new forword cowritten with Geoffrey West, SFI Past President and Distinguished Professor, and author of the widely acclaimed book Scale

“This volume on emerging syntheses might be read as a detailed manifesto laying out a vision for a new science in the twenty-first century. Remarkably, for a book that is thirty years old, it can still be profitably read as a guide to our immediate scientific and social circumstances and to our future cultural ambitions,” write Krakauer and West.

The nearly 600-page Emerging Syntheses in Science also includes a new preface by editor David Pines, an influential physicist and cofounder of SFI who died prior to this publication; an afterword by Stephen Wolfram, founder of Wolfram Research and author of A New Kind of Science; and never-before-published transcripts of the discussion sessions.

“Looking back, the unifying feature that I missed was that nearly all speakers dealt with aspects of emergent behavior in the emerging syntheses they were describing,” wrote Pines. “We were bearing witness to a change in the paradigm of science — from reductionism to emergence.”

Emerging Syntheses in Science is published through SFI Press and is available in paperback and hardcover and as an e-book through Amazon.