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A broad range of topics covered by the Santa Fe Institute


Founding the Santa Fe Institute
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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In any case, in the early '80s I was a so-called Fellow of the Los Alamos lab, as you know. There were some Fellows who, like me, were consultants, and other Fellows were staff members. And we got into the habit of having lunches for the Fellows, and from the very beginning the lunches were devoted to the idea of founding an institute in Santa Fe, it was the first thing all of us thought of, an institute that would not be run by the government although it would… could certainly accept government research funds; would not be devoted to classified matters; and would be genuinely open, international and so on.

New York-born physicist Murray Gell-Mann (1929-2019) was known for his creation of the eightfold way, an ordering system for subatomic particles, comparable to the periodic table. His discovery of the omega-minus particle filled a gap in the system, brought the theory wide acceptance and led to Gell-Mann's winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1969.

Listeners: Geoffrey West

Geoffrey West is a Staff Member, Fellow, and Program Manager for High Energy Physics at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is also a member of The Santa Fe Institute. He is a native of England and was educated at Cambridge University (B.A. 1961). He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1966 followed by post-doctoral appointments at Cornell and Harvard Universities. He returned to Stanford as a faculty member in 1970. He left to build and lead the Theoretical High Energy Physics Group at Los Alamos. He has numerous scientific publications including the editing of three books. His primary interest has been in fundamental questions in Physics, especially those concerning the elementary particles and their interactions. His long-term fascination in general scaling phenomena grew out of his work on scaling in quantum chromodynamics and the unification of all forces of nature. In 1996 this evolved into the highly productive collaboration with James Brown and Brian Enquist on the origin of allometric scaling laws in biology and the development of realistic quantitative models that analyse the influence of size on the structural and functional design of organisms.

Tags: Los Alamos, Santa Fe Institute

Duration: 48 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 29 September 2010