The Institute welcomes any research in the natural and social sciences, provided that it stays as close as possible to the ideal of falsifiability, or a similarly serious epistemology.

Members are united in our idea of science and research, rather than around any specific theme, and our topics are likely to evolve together with the individuals leading them.

Our ongoing projects mostly gravitate around the following categories:

Current themes

High-dimensional and low-dimensional simplicity in biology

Several of our current members work actively at the interface between physics and ecology:
  • Using statistical mechanics tools in biological systems
  • Revisiting classic ecological theories as limits of more complex behaviors
  • Connecting equilibrium and nonequilibrium paradigms

Keywords: ecology, statistical mechanics

Building methods for interdisciplinary work

As researchers working across disciplinary boundaries, we often encounter practical questions such as:
  • When is a phenomenon better approached through dynamical equations, statistical relationships, probabilistic models?
  • When can and should we try to unify the results of different models, different approaches?
  • When is it useful or not to bring in concepts from outside one field?

A large part of our research within particular fields (ecology, physics, social sciences) is figuring out heuristics for these broader questions. This tacit know-how would benefit from being made explicit, in the shape of formal syntheses, practical guides, maps of relations between tools and concepts.

Keywords: methodology, epistemology, applied mathematics

Network and grammatical approaches to individuals and societies

  • Network models of psychiatric syndromes
  • Connecting values in decision theory, instruments in psychometrics, and norms in classical social theory
  • Searching for grammatical properties in anthropological structures (kinship, ritual)
  • Rethinking functionalism: looking for common points between social functions, biological functions and linguistic functions, to help formalize these concepts

Keywords: psychometrics, grammar, anthropology, functionalism