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December 23, 2020 59 min

COVID-19 hasn’t just disrupted the “normal” of everyone’s social practices in what we take for granted as “daily life.” The pandemic has also, more granularly, changed the way scientists research and publish; it has changed the way science interfaces with institutions as varied as local governments and cell phone companies; it has changed the way we host and produce this podcast. This episode, for instance, with SFI External Professor Sam Scarpino and Resident Professor Michael Lachmann was recorded live over a year-end Donor Appreciation Zoom call, for those who both contributed to SFI in 2020 and could handle yet one more group video chat. In it, we discuss their lessons from the “front lines” of network epidemiology this year: what has surprised them, what has stayed with them, and what they expect it all to mean in the years to come…

Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe.

Tis the season, so if you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a donation at — and/or rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. Avid readers take note that the SFI Press’ latest, Complexity Economics, is now available as a free ebook with donation at You can find numerous other ways to engage with us at — and undergrads, you still have until January 11th to submit for our 2021 Undergraduate Complexity Research program at Thank you for listening!

Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode.

Podcast theme music by Mitch Mignano.

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More Resources:

Michael Lachmann’s Google Scholar Page

Sam Scarpino’s Google Scholar Page

The University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium Public Dashboard

Crowding and the shape of COVID-19 epidemics

SFI’s Twitter thread re: auto-correlation in networks on the cusp of a breakdown or breakthrough

Asymptomatic transmission and the resurgence of Bordetella pertussis

Sam Scarpino on Complexity Podcast Episode 25

Harvard’s Michael Mina (hosted by Michael Lachmann) at SFI speaking on rapid testing for COVID-19

“How Data Became One of the Most Powerful Tools to Fight an Epidemic” by Steven Johnson for The NY Times


“If Cancer Were Easy, Every Cell Would Do It” (SFI Press Release on Lachmann’s cancer research)

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