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Geoffrey West

Distinguished Professor and former President, Santa Fe Institute

Geoffrey West is a British theoretical physicist, former president and distinguished professor of the Santa Fe Institute. He is one of the leading scientists working on a scientific model of cities. West received his BA from Cambridge University in 1961 and his doctorate from Stanford University in 1966, where he returned in 1970 to become a member of the faculty.

West’s primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics, especially those concerning the elementary particles, their interactions and cosmological implications. West received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from the University of Cambridge and pursued graduate studies on the pion (pi meson) at Stanford University. West became a Stanford faculty member before he joined the particle theory group at New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. After Los Alamos, he became president of the Santa Fe Institute, where he worked and works on biological issues such as the allometric law and other power laws in biology.

West is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and was one of their Centenary Speakers in 2003. He has been a lecturer in many popular and distinguished scientist series worldwide, as well as at the World Economic Forum. Among recent honors he was a co-receiver of the Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America, the Weldon Memorial Prize (2005), Oxford University and the Glenn Award for research on Aging and the APS Szilard Award (2013). In 2006 he was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and his work selected as one of the breakthrough ideas of 2007 by the Harvard Business Review. He is the author of several books, a visiting Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College, London, and an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School at Oxford University.

Topic Series


Scaling in Biology (Santa Fe Institute Studies on the Sciences of Complexity)

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Particle Physics: A Los Alamos Primer

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Complexity Perspectives in Innovation and Social Change (Methodos Series)

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