Edward (Eddie) Lee, Ph.D.

I study collective behavior, aspects of which manifest in physics, biology, and society. I'm fascinated by how emergent statistical and dynamical regularities connect seemingly disparate phenomena across domains of nature, scales of description, and time. I study how these patterns may reflect universal principles of information and computation, how they arise through mathematics and mechanism, and how they inform intervention and control across complex, adaptive systems. I develop ideas with precise mathematics and in silico experiments inspired by physical models, connecting with detailed data on exquisitely controlled biological systems and building quantitative intuition that extends to the complexity of human society.

I've worked on the emergence of blocs in group decision making like in US Supreme Court voting and the spread of conflict in monkey and human societies. Most recently, I've been thinking about centralization of control in social and biological networks and about how firms aggregate information to compete in noisy and uncertain environments.

Here's a nice review of the history of the physics of 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, and Cosmos Magazine.


I am a Program Postdoctoral Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute under Professors Chris Kempes and Geoffrey West. I hold a Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University. I received my A.B. (ordering as in Latin) in Physics from Princeton University in 2012. My CV is available here.

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

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. I live with my very needy but adorable cat Jas—short for Jasmine and pronounced "Jazz." Yes, there's a story.