Stuart A. Kauffman

Professor, Departments of Biochemistry and Mathematics &
Senior Researcher, Complex Systems Center, University of Vermont;

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External Professor, The Santa Fe Institute

Stuart Kauffman, originally trained as a physician, is a biologist and complex systems researcher, who is most widely known for his promotion of self-organization as a factor that is at least as important as Darwinian natural selection in producing the complexity of biological systems and organisms.

He received a medical degree (M.D.) from the University of California, San Francisco in 1968. After a brief medical career, he moved into developmental genetics and held appointments with the University of Chicago and from 1975 to 1995 he was an Associate, and later, Full Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship from 1987-1992, Kauffman rose to prominence through his association with the Santa Fe Institute (a non-profit research institute dedicated to the study of complex systems, where he was one of the faculty in residence from 1986 to 1997) and through his work on models in various areas of biology. These included autocatalytic sets in origin of life research, gene regulatory networks in developmental biology and fitness landscapes in evolutionary biology.

Most recently, he is the founding director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics and a professor of biological sciences, physics, and astronomy at the University of Calgary. He is Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, a MacArthur Fellow, and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, of which he was a founding member. His books include: The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution and At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity.


CPNS Library - Full versions of selected articles and papers related to CPNS interests

Papers for Download


The Science of Surprise - Discover Magazine (article about Kauffman's work on complexity theory)

Search Strategies for Applied Molecular Evolution
Criticality and Scaling in Evolutionary Ecology
A Proposal for Using the Ensemble Approach to Understand Genetic Regulatory Networks
The Ensemble Approach to Understand Genetic Regulatory Networks
Measures for Information Propagation in Boolean Networks
Optimal Search on a Technology Landscape
Other selected publications


    The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, New York: Oxford Univ. Press,1993.     At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1996.  
      Investigations, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002.     Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion, New York: Basic Books, 2009  


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