At the intersection of physics and society...

There is an old saying that 'physics is what physicists do.' This doesn't sound very helpful, but it may be getting at an important point. Academic disciplines have a choice to define themselves either by their objects of study or by their style of inquiry. Physics (at its best, I would like to think) is firmly in the second camp. Physicists make it their business to ask certain kinds of questions about Nature, and to seek certain kinds of answers. 'Thinking like a physicist' means something, and we are proud to do it; it is this, above all else, that we try to convey to our students. We are the intellectual heirs of Galileo, taking seriously his evocative claim that the book of Nature is written in the language of mathematics.
–William Bialek, Searching for principles (taken from draft)


Lee, E. D., Daniels, B. C., Myers, C. R., Krakauer, D. C., and Flack, J. C. "Emergent regularities and scaling in armed conflict data," arXiv:1903.07762 physics.soc-ph cond-mat.stat-mech nlin.AO q-bio.NC (2019).

Lee, Edward D., Esposito, Edward, and Cohen, Itai. "Audio cues enhance mirroring of arm motion when visual cues are scarce.” Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 16(154), (2018). DOI:

Lee, E. D. and Daniels, B. C. "Convenient Interface to Inverse Ising (ConIII): A Python 3 Package for Solving Ising-Type Maximum Entropy Models." Journal of Open Research Software, 7(3):1–8 (2019). DOI:

Lee, E. D. "Partisan Intuition Belies Strong, Institutional Consensus and Wide Zipf's Law for Voting Blocs in US Supreme Court." Journal of Statistical Physics 173(6):1722–1733 (2018). DOI:

Lee, E. D., Daniels, B. C., Krakauer, D. C., and Flack, J. C. "Collective Memory in Primate Conflict Implied by Temporal Scaling Collapse." Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 14:20170223 (2017). DOI:

Sethna, J. P., Bierbaum, M. K., Dahmen, K. A., Goodrich, C. P., Greer, J. R., Hayden, L. X., Kent-Dobias, J. P., Lee, E. D., Liarte, D. B., Ni, X., and Quinn, K. N. "Deformation of crystals: Connections with statistical physics." Annual Review of Materials Research, 47(14):1–13 (2017). DOI:

Lee, E. D., Broedersz, C. P., and Bialek, W. "Statistical Mechanics of the US Supreme Court." Journal of Statistical Physics, 160(2):275–301 (2015). DOI:

Lee, E., Daniels, B. C., Krakauer, D. C., and Flack, J. C. "Capturing collective conflict dynamics with sparse social circuits," Collective Intelligence, arXiv:1406-7720 cs.SI, (2014).


I have worked with a number of wonderful people and friends across disciplines who have been my mentors. Currently, my collaborators at Cornell are Chris Myers, Paul Ginsparg,and Itai Cohen and at the Santa Fe Institute Bryan Daniels, Jessica Flack, and David Krakauer.

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