Prize Recipient

WestGeoffrey West
Santa Fe Institute


"For path-breaking work on the origin of universal biological scaling laws and quantitative models for structural and functional design of organisms. For theoretical insights about the long-term sustainability of cities."


Geoffrey West is Distinguished Professor and former President of the Santa Fe Institute (2005-2009). Prior to SFI, he was leader of high energy physics at Los Alamos, where he remains a Senior Fellow. He received his BA from Cambridge (1961) and his PhD in physics from Stanford (1966). After spells at Cornell and Harvard, he joined the faculty at Stanford (1970). West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions, ranging from elementary particles and their interactions to universal scaling laws in biology and the development of a physics-inspired theory of cities, companies and long-term global sustainability. His research has included metabolic rate, growth, aging & death, sleep, cancer, and ecosystem dynamics and, more recently, rates of growth and innovation, the accelerating pace of life, and why companies die, yet cities survive. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Recent awards include the Mercer Prize from the Ecological Society of America, the Weldon Prize for Mathematical Biology and the Glenn Award for Aging research. His work was selected as a breakthrough idea (2007) by Harvard Business Review and he was selected for Time's 2006 list of "100 Most Influential People in the World".

Selection Committee:

Peter D. Zimmerman, Chair; A. Pregenzer; S.S. Hecker