Santa Fe Institute

Science Board member Simon Levin wins National Medal of Science for his research in ecological complexity

May 20, 2016 8:45 a.m.

President Obama awarded SFI Science Board member Simon Levin the U.S. National Medal of Science—the nation’s highest honor for achievement and leadership in science.

Levin and the eight other awardees received their medals in a White House ceremony May 19, alongside recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

During the ceremony, the president recognized Levin "for international leadership in environmental science, straddling ecology and applied mathematics, to promote conservation; for his impact on a generation of environmental scientists; and for his critical contributions to ecology, environmental economics, epidemiology, applied mathematics, and evolution."

Levin’s research focuses on connecting macroscopic patterns at the level of ecosystems and the biosphere to behaviors and evolutionary mechanisms that operate at the level of individual organisms. Though he primarily focuses on biological and ecological systems, Levin has applied his insights into structure and organization to the study of other complex systems, such as socioeconomic systems and infectious disease epidemics.

The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. Awarded annually, the Medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. The President receives nominations from a committee of Presidential appointees based on their extraordinary knowledge in and contributions to chemistry, engineering, computing, mathematics, and the biological, behavioral/social, and physical sciences.

Read the White House ceremony transcript (May 19, 2016)

Read the Princeton University news release (December 22, 2015)

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