Nicholas A. Christakis
embedded in social networks that affect every aspect of our lives. Work in the
Christakis lab involves the application of network science and statistical and
mathematical models to a variety of observational and experimental datasets in
order to understand the structure and function of human networks. What social,
biological, and mathematical principles help determine how and why human social
networks form and how they operate? One stream of work focuses on the spreading
dynamics of health-related phenomena (obesity, smoking, emotions, altruism) in longitudinally evolving networks
("contagion"). Another stream of work examines the genetic, social,
and psychological processes that determine social network structure
("connection"). These investigations have meaningful implications for
public policy and public health.
Christakis has spent the last ten years examining how and why humans assemble themselves into small and large social networks, and how our embeddedness in such networks affects our lives. Using data from diverse sources -- including longitudinally followed cohorts, online interactions, and experiments -- he has explored questions as diverse as the inter-personal spread of obesity and emotions, the use of humans within networks as 'sensors,' the 'pay-it-forward' property of human altruism and the genetic basis for social network structure.
Professor, Department of Medicine, Health Care Policy,
and Sociology, Harvard University. Master of Pforzheimer House, Harvard College
Dr. Christakis received his B.S. from Yale University in
1984, M.D. from Harvard Medical School and M.P.H. from the Harvard School of
Public Health in 1989, and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995.
He is an internist and social scientist who conducts research on social factors
(such as small and large social networks) that affect health, health care, and
longevity. He is the co-author of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social
Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. He is 2006 Fellow of the Institute of
Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and is on the 2009 Time
magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
* There is no registration for this event. Seating is limited, so arriving early is recommended.