Santa Fe Institute

Research Fellows

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Laura Fortunato

External Professor

Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, University of Oxford


Listen to Laura discuss the evolution of the human family

Hyejin Youn

Senior Research Fellow, Mathematical Institute, Oxford University

Laura Fortunato

External Professor

Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, University of Oxford

Laura's research aims to understand the evolution of human social and cultural behaviour, working at the interface of biology and anthropology. Three areas of ongoing research are the evolution of human family systems, the study of how culture changes over time, and the emergence of cooperation and complexity in human social systems.

Her work combines theoretical and statistical methods developed in biology with theory and data drawn from the historical and social sciences. She holds a Laurea in biological sciences from the University of Padova and an MRes and PhD in anthropology from University College London.

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Hyejin Youn

Senior Research Fellow, Mathematical Institute, Oxford University

Senior Research Fellow, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford; James Martin Fellow, The Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School

How do we, humans, understand the world: categorize and accumulate our knowledge, and thereby innovate idea, culture, and technologies? Is there any universal mechanism that governs such innovation process that eventually generates both social and economic wealth across different societies? A common conceptualization of innovation in both the biological and socio-economic domains sees it as an adaptive process of recombinant search over a space of configurational possibilities. I develop a mathematical framework for recombinant search in the space of configurational possibilities supported strongly by empirical data. The better we understand the mechanism of innovation the better we understand the mechanism of wealth creation.

Research goals: Develop a mathematical framework for economic growth through innovation and tacit knowledge accumulation based strongly on empirical data; Understand universality in the way ...

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