Complexity Explorer Santa Few Institute

Fall Update: Welcome Carrie Cowan, course offerings, and subtitles!

Complexity Explorer /
23 Aug 2019
Complex Systems Chaos Dynamical Systems Origins of Life Language

Welcome to Carrie Cowan - Director of Education!

We are excited that Dr. Carrie Cowan will be joining us to navigate and inspire complex systems education here at the Santa Fe Institute.  Carrie joins us from The Jackson Laboratory as their pre and postdoctoral education director - we are excited about the experience in non-traditional education that she brings to the office! We asked her to answer a few questions in one sentence to introduce her to the complexity explorer community. 

What is your favorite thing about SFI? 

Definitely the people. That includes the on-campus scientists, staff, and visitors as well as the global SFI community - external faculty, alumni, the Complexity Explorer crowd. They are an amazing, essential part of the Institute and bring valued diversity.

What is your favorite thing in complex systems? 

I like that complex systems are not restricted by disciplines or scales or particular agents. It's a truly trans-disciplinary science, and the exchange encourages clever ways of thinking about problems. I came to complex systems from pattern formation in cell and developmental biology: self-organization, phase transitions, and random walks. So one of my favorite things is expanding my complex systems universe. I am currently taking Simon DeDeo's archived tutorial on renormalization (incredibly fun and informative), which means that, right this minute, I'm particularly excited about information content. 

What is your favorite organism? 

Tough question. Favorite to grow and eat might be cucumbers (more specifically, their pickled derivatives). But I've kept chickens for the past few years and they're incredibly useful, so also a favorite, practically speaking. I have dogs, so I guess I owe it to their patience and enthusiasm to give them a mention in the context of favorite. Jellyfish are sort of neat. And I'll put all endangered and threatened creatures on my list of favorites. I also have a certain allegiance to C. elegans as a model organism. (I am pretty certain that I am cheating on this question.)

What do you love the most about Complexity Explorer? 

I love its ethos. It's important to me that Complexity Explorer courses deliver not only valuable, quality content but that they're available at no cost. (Well, mostly...) That seems to encourage the Complexity Explorer community gives back, like through the huge subtitling efforts, donations, and recommendations to friends. I also like Complexity Explorer's intimacy. When I first met Melanie Mitchell in the hallway at SFI, I felt like I was seeing a long-time friend. (Though this feeling obviously doesn't go both ways; noted for next time I encounter a Complexity Explorer person in real life.) The instructors are incredibly engaging and share their enthusiasm for the subject in a relatable way - they're amazing teachers. 

Do you have a favorite artist or musician?

What?! After "favorite organism" I would think you'd have realized I'm not good at this. I'll put some bounds on this and make it very specific to SFI's location in Santa Fe. One of my favorite visual artists is Agnes Martin. Who knew penciled grids could be so beautiful?

© Agnes Martin Untitled, 1960. Oil on canvas (1912-2004) RISD Collection. LACMA

Fall Course offerings  - Enrollment is free and open, courses start October 1

Join Introduction to Complexity with Instructor Santiago Guisasola, who is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Santiago will be adding some small updates to the course, with a few new interviews.  As always Melanie Mitchell will be our fearless leader into the world of complex systems. 


Introduction to Dynamical Systems and Chaos will be taught by Patricia Mellodge who joins us from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Patricia is excited to engage with Complexity Explorer's diverse community with her love of teaching and knowledge sharing. You will see Dave Feldman and his Sharpie in the video lectures. 


Origins of Life course is wrapping up, and the course will be archived on Sept 2, where you can access the videos, quizzes, and supplementary materials (there are many as teaching assistant Maria Kalambokidis put together an extensive list). Also, the playlist on YouTube is now public. Furthermore, if you are on our subtitling team or want to join, you will notice that all of the videos from the course are now on Amara - enjoy and thank you for your work. 


Wow, lots of updates from the subtitling world. 

Our team was featured on the front page of the SFI newsletter, 'Parallax', summer 2019 issue. Indeed you are all heroes!

In June we had some new subtitlers join us to work on Origins of Life in English and Dutch, welcome! 

Over the past few months, we also saw Hazm Talab blow any record completely out of the water - their current total minutes are 984 or 16.4 hours in Arabic. You will find Hazm featured in the Parallax article and a huge thanks to him!

Image from "Subtitle heroes speak complexity in many languages" Parallax, Summer 2019

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