Scientist Kauffman joins UVM

Beginning in January, UVM will be the new home for world-renowned scientist Stuart Kauffman. Kauffman is known for his contributions to the science of complex systems — systems considered complex in nature, society and science. He is the director of the University of Calgary’s Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics and the author of “At Home in the Universe” and “The Origins of Order.” Kauffman’s research into complex systems explores fundamental questions on the origin of life, as well as practical questions like how to organize networks, Maggie Eppstein, director of the Complex Systems Center at UVM, said.  His research may also have applications for developing a cure for cancer, she said. “He’s a real pioneer in the field of complex systems,” Eppstein said “He’s one of the truly great thinkers of our day.” The strength of the faculty drew Kauffman to UVM, Eppstein said.  “He feels he can synergize here,” Eppstein said. Members of the Complex Systems Center are looking forward to working with Kauffman. “I am frankly very excited,” biology professor Charles Goodnight said. “I didn’t think it wasgoing to be a possibility because we’re going through budgetary hard times.” It is expensive to bring a figure of Kauffman’s stature to UVM, though funding for his appointment did not cause further reductions in faculty funding, Eppstein said. Dominico Grasso, vice president for research at UVM, worked with Frederick Morin, the dean of UVM’s College of Medicine, to bring Kauffman to the University. “He’s a luminary,” mathematics professor Richard Foote said. “There’s absolutely no question that he’ll bring tremendous visibility to UVM,” he said.