“Advocates say help is on the way for troubled Potter Elementary” by Marlene Sokol Children who live near Potter Elementary School will have a new option in August. An early learning center is opening just steps away, serving kindergarten and first grade, with plans to expand later. It’s one of several projects...  
Seshat & Clidiodynamics In the News
February 23, 2015
Animation about SESHAT databank wins a top prize

The “Cultural History Database Initiative” refers to a broad set of projects, including the EI-hosted Seshat Databank  and the SSHRC-funded Database of Religious History (DRH). An animation describing these projects and their ambitious goal of consolidating disparate information about human culture was one of five top projects in the annual SSHRC Storytellers’ Contest. We are proud of the diverse collaborations that have generated this growing body of knowledge and the predictions it will help researchers make about humanity.

October 10, 2014
International Relations in a Time of Accelerating Dynamic Instability by Lawrence Husick (Foreign Policy Institute)

“Professor Peter Turchin, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Connecticut has attempted to apply the analytical tools of evolutionary science to explain the demographic cycles that contribute to political instability and the breakdown of states that lead to wars.”

June 10, 2014
Historians of the Future Discuss “Earthquake Zones” of Societies (in Russian)
May 10, 2014
Can Math Be Used to Better Understand History?

Peter Turchin, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, is doing just that through complex mathematical algorithms. Listen to his Academic Minute on WAMC – Northeast Public Radio

May 10, 2014
The Arab Spring: a revolution for the elite? by Dominique Baillard/RFI (in French)

“In fact, nobody has been able to predict these revolutions. It is impossible to pinpoint the spark that will make the casserole explode. However, one can measure the pressure in the pot and see if it is correlated with a number of socio-economic factors. This is the model the American researcher Peter Turchin was building in the country he knew best, the United States.”

April 10, 2014
Russia’s Sacred Land. To understand Crimea, we need an evolutionary theory of national honour. It’s irrational and deadly – but it works.

Turchin’s article in Aeon Magazine.

When Russia annexed Crimea in March, American policymakers were taken by surprise. They shouldn’t have been, argued the political theorist John J. Mearsheimer in a New York Times op-ed. After all: “Mr Putin’s behaviour is motivated by the same geopolitical considerations that influence all great powers, including the United States.”

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Evolution Institute in the News
May 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Times Story on Evolution Institute’s New Early Learning Center

Advocates say help is on the way for troubled Potter Elementary
by Marlene Sokol

Children who live near Potter Elementary School will have a new option in August. An early learning center is opening just steps away, serving kindergarten and first grade, with plans to expand later.

It’s one of several projects under way to assist Potter, a four-time F school whose troubles have attracted widespread attention in recent months.

[…] Leaders of the early learning center, which will be a charter school, say their plans began in a local think tank called the Evolution Institute.

The institute “takes science and research and applies it to today’s issues (and) problems; education obviously is one of them,” said Michelle Shimberg, who chairs the board that will oversee the Early Childhood Learning Center.

Shimberg spent decades as a volunteer in the schools and the district, and she belongs to a family well known for community service and philanthropy. Serving with her are retired educators Jerry and Virginia Lieberman.

Their strategies include project-based learning, which lets students focus on their interests, and a community center location that can draw in siblings and others outside the school rolls. Parents and other family members will rotate in and out to give lessons in art, music and other enrichment courses.

“The idea of developing strong relationships with families, with parents, with community members in support of the students and the teachers at the school, we believe, will help produce better outcomes,” Shimberg said. She expects the benefits to extend far beyond the 54 students in kindergarten through second grade at the school.

Shimberg’s group first approached the district with hopes of applying its strategies to district schools. Instead it was advised to open a charter school, a sometimes controversial vehicle that gets tax funding but is run independently.

Each class of 18 students will have a full-time aide in addition to the teacher.

One built-in advantage: Potter suffers from a high student mobility rate, meaning kids in the largely transient East Tampa neighborhood frequently move from home to home and school to school. But a child who moves can stay in the same charter school.

[…] Shimberg and the Liebermans are creating the opposite — a homegrown charter school that will start small. And they are mindful of poverty in East Tampa, which often makes for stressful home environments and wary parents.

“What we want to do is to be that environment where people are engaged,” Shimberg said. “They are engaged at all different levels and there are trusting relationships.”

May 15, 2017
EI Advisory Board Member Barbara Oakley Featured in Wall Street Journal

How a Polymath Mastered Math—and So Can You
‘Mindshift’ author Barbara Oakley on the science and practice of learning—and finding love at the South Pole.

February 22, 2017
Grand challenges for the study of cultural evolution published in Nature

The founding members of the EI’s Cultural Evolution Society were surveyed to identify the major scientific questions and ‘grand challenges’ currently facing the study of cultural evolution. They present the results and discuss the implications for an emergent synthesis in the study of culture based on Darwinian principles.

November 21, 2016
Evolution Institute project Seshat on New Scientist: The database that is rewriting history to predict the future

Seshat is a vast and growing database of historical and archaeological knowledge that can be explored using scientific techniques. That makes it a powerful tool for testing and ultimately discarding hypotheses. “A cemetery for theories,” is how Seshat co-founder Peter Turchin at the University of Connecticut in Storrs describes it. By making history more evidence-based, he and his colleagues hope it will become more relevant.

November 21, 2016
Peter Turchin for Bloomberg: Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Society Frays

Complex human societies, including our own, are fragile. They are held together by an invisible web of mutual trust and social cooperation. This web can fray easily, resulting in a wave of political instability, internal conflict and, sometimes, outright social collapse.

Analysis of past societies shows that these destabilizing historical trends develop slowly, last many decades, and are slow to subside. The Roman Empire, Imperial China and medieval and early-modern England and France suffered such cycles, to cite a few examples. In the U.S., the last long period of instability began in the 1850s and lasted through the Gilded Age and the “violent 1910s.”

Read the rest of the article here.

October 7, 2016
Evolution Institute Vice President Peter Turchin featured on Through the Wormhole

In a recent episode of Through the Wormhole titled “What Makes a Terrorist?”, Morgan Freeman presented Prof. Turchin’s ‘radical’ idea, and Evolution Institute project Seshat: Global History Databank, of using history as a guide to understand why people join terrorist groups, what breeds such groups to begin with, and what to do about it now.

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Quality of Life in the News
March 25, 2016
Evolution Institute founder talks Bernie Sander and Nordic Exceptionalism

“I think that [Bernie Sanders] has been doing a wonderful job of making people aware that there’s something that’s really important and positive that’s happened historically in these Nordic countries,” says Jerry Lieberman, co-founder of the Evolution Institute, an international scientific think tank. “They have evolved to be more caring counties, and nations where people really matter, nations that are more fundamentally democratic than our own political system. That’s a wonderful thing. He has almost legitimized (something) that in the past has been dismissed outright as homogenous and small counties.”

October 11, 2013
QOL Press in Norwegian newspaper Aftenpostem

“They have launched a general theory of ‘multilevel selection,’ where groups of genes, cells and individuals compete and are selected in parallel, layer by layer, like Russian Matryoshka dolls. These are just some of the many ideas discussed in professional circles, and hopefully eventually would give humans a better understanding of ourselves.”

 

 

October 4, 2013
QOL Press in Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet

Evolutionary scientists studying dreamland Norway: Evolusjonsforskere studerer drømmelandet Norge. “ ‘It’s like baseball. If one team wins every year , people ask whether it is money , the players or the coach. I’ll do the same,’ says Lieberman.”

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