Eddie Lee

I am a scientist at the intersection of physics and society—using physics ideas, intuition, and models to search for general principles in human behavior. I focus on systems where detailed data permit rigorous quantitative tests of theory like the emergence of blocs in group decision making (e.g., voting in the US Supreme Court) and the spread of conflict (e.g., in monkey and human societies).

In particular, I am interested in harnessing the tools of statistical physics to investigate universal behavior in conflict and decision making across societies. Universality is a remarkable concept from statistical physics where apparently different systems display the same quantitative regularities. Such universal principles offer a powerful framework for understanding human society in the context of the natural sciences.

Here's a nice review of the history of Physics in social behavior, and Philip Ball has written an inspiring book, Critical Mass, showing how conceptual frameworks from physics provide insight to social behavior.

My work has been covered in Wired, Ars Technica, Cosmos Magazine, and the Cornell Chronicle.


I am a post-doctoral research fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. I hold a PhD in Physics from Cornell University and was advised by Professor Paul Ginsparg. I graduated from Princeton University in 2012 with an AB in Physics and a Certificate in Biophysics (analogous to a minor). I am a Fellow of the Collective Computation Group at the Santa Fe Institute and was formerly a research fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

You can contact me at [email protected] My GitHub is https://github.com/eltrompetero.

My CV is available here.

One of my main, non-research activities is breakdancing (bboying). I'm a science fiction fan, a coffee drinker, an aspiring science writer, and an aspiring DJ.