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 Science, a collection of the research presentations from the founding meeting, was first published by Addison-Wesley in 1988. In this new edition, SFI 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.