Stuart Alan Kauffman (born September 28, 1939), originally trained as a physician, is a biologist and complex systems researcher, and 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 Bachelor's degrees from Dartmouth (1960) and Oxford University (1963) and 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. Kauffman was also a recipient of the 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. In 1996 Kauffman started the BIOS Group, a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based for-profit company that employs complex systems methodology to attempt to solve business problems. BIOS Group was acquired by NuTech Solutions in early 2003. As of 2003 Kauffman served on the NuTech board of directors.
Books and articles
- "Antichaos and Adaptation", Scientific American, August 1991.
- Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (1993) Oxford University Press. Technical text. ISBN 0195079515
- At Home in the Universe (1995) Oxford University Press. Popular treatment of many of the ideas in Origins. ISBN 0195111303
- Investigations (2000) Oxford University Press. Speculations involving a possible definition of life. ISBN 0195121058
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