MacArthur Fellows Program

Stuart Alan Kauffman

Evolutionary Biologist | Class of 1987

Evolutionary Biologist
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
48 at time of award
Published July 1, 1987

About Stuart's Work

Stuart Kauffman is a theoretical biologist and physician who combines experimental and theoretical work to make contributions to evolutionary theory, including the origin-of-life problem.

Kauffman’s study of the behavior of randomly connected switching networks has revealed how natural selection, working with random mutation, can give rise to adaptive and complex organisms.  He holds the Ballivet-Kauffman Patent in the area of applied molecular evolution or “molecular diversity.”  He is the author of three books on theoretical, complexity science, The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (1993), At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity (1995), and Investigations (2000).


Kauffman held teaching appointments in biophysics at the University of Chicago (1969-1975) and the University of Pennsylvania (1975-1995).  He was a professor (1986-1997) and now serves on the Science Advisory Board at the Santa Fe Institute.  Since 1985, he has been a consultant to the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  In 1996, Kauffman started the BIOS Group, a company that employs complex-systems methodology to solve business problems, and for which he serves on the board of directors.  

Kauffman received a B.A. (1960) from Dartmouth College and a B.A. (1963) from the University of Oxford, and an M.D. (1968) from the University of California, San Francisco.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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