Santa Fe, October 1984. Many of the most accomplished creative minds in science—including four Nobel laureates—gather to create an institution unlike any other: where unconventional thinking flourishes and disciplinary boundaries fall away.

From this meeting emerged some of the most generative research programs of the last three decades, including the physics of living systems, the mathematics of society, quantitative archaeology, the nature of mind, fundamentals of complex systems theory—and the implications of all of these on the future. The original vision of a boundary-spanning research center became what Nature has called “that mecca of multidisciplinary complexity studies”: the Santa Fe Institute.

With a new foreword from SFI Founder-in-Residence David Pines, as well as never-before-published transcripts of the discussion sessions, this volume of seminal essays lays the foundation for thirty years of complexity science—and outlines challenges for thirty more.

Read more about Emerging Syntheses in Science

Contributors: P. W. Anderson, Charles H. Bennett, Felix E. Browder, George A. Cowan, J. D. Cowan, Irven DeVore, Manfred Eigen, Marcus W. Feldman, Hans Frauenfelder, Harvey Friedman, Mardi J. Horowitz, B. A. Huberman, Murray Gell-Mann, Theodore T. Puck, M. P. Schutzenberger, Douglas W. Schwartz, Alwyn C. Scott, Jerome L. Singer, John Tooby, Anthony Turkevich, Frank Wilczek, Stephen Wolfram, Richard W. Wrangham

Table of Contents


Foreword: The Quest for a Complex Unity
David C. Krakauer and Geoffrey West

Preface: An Institution Without Fiefdoms
David Pines

Chapter 1: The Concept of the Institute
Murray Gell-Mann

~Part I: A Beautiful Possibility~

Chapter 2: Spin Glass Hamiltonians: A Bridge Between Biology, Statistical Mechanics and Computer Science
P. W. Anderson

Chapter 3: Macromolecular Evolution: Dynamical Ordering in Sequence Space 
Manfred Eigen

Chapter 4: Evolutionary Theory of Genotypes and Phenotypes: Toward a Mathematical Synthesis 
Marcus W. Feldman

Chapter 5: Prospects for a Synthesis in the Human Behavioral Sciences
Irven DeVore

Chapter 6: The Emergence of Evolutionary Psychology
John Tooby

Chapter 7: War in Evolutionary Perspective
Richard W. Wrangham


Chapter 8: The Relationship of Modern Archaeology to Other Disciplines 
Douglas Schwartz

Chapter 9: Reconstructing the Past Through Chemistry
Anthony Turkevich

~Part II: A Fantastic Manipulation~


Chapter 10: The Conscious and Unconscious Stream of Thought
Jerome L. Singer

Chapter 11: Conscious and Unconscious Processes
Mardi J. Horowitz

Chapter 12: Brain Mechanisms Underlying Visual Hallucinations
J. D. Cowan

Chapter 13: Solitons in Biological Molecules
Alwyn C. Scott

Chapter 14: The New Biology and its Human Implications
Theodore T. Puck

Chapter 15: Biomolecules
Hans Frauenfelder

~Part III: A Good Machine~

Chapter 16: Computing With Attractors: From Self-Repairing Computers to Ultradiffusion and the Application of Dynamical Systems to Human Behavior 
B. A. Huberman

Chapter 17: Fundamental Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy
Frank Wilczek

Chapter 18: Complex Systems Theory
Stephen Wolfram

Chapter 19: Mathematics and the Sciences
Felix E. Browder

20: Applications of Mathematics to Theoretical Computer Science
Harvey Friedman

21: Linguistics and Computing
M. P. Schützenberger

22: Dissipation, Information, Computational Complexity and the Definition of Organization
Charles H. Bennett

~Part IV: Some Distant Crag~

23: Plans for the Future
George A. Cowan

Afterword: My Part in an Origin Story—The Founding of the Santa Fe Institute
Stephen Wolfram


Original Foreword to the 1988 Edition

Participants at the Founding Workshop

Agenda for the October 1984 Workshop

Transcripts of the Proceedings

The Aims of the Rio Grande Institute