Martin Nowak

MARTIN NOWAK is Professor of Biology and Mathematics at Harvard University. He is Director of the newly founded Center for Evolutionary Dynamics, for which Harvard obtained a donation of $30 million. Nowak studied biochemistry and mathematics at the University of Vienna where he received his Ph-D in 1989. Afterwards, he went to Oxford to work with Robert May. Nowak became Professor of Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford at the age of 32. In 1998 he moved to Princeton to establish the first research program in Theoretical Biology at the Institute for Advanced Study. In July 2003, Nowak was recruited by Harvard University. Nowak is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He has won several prizes including the Weldon Memorial Prize.

Nowak has made important discoveries in a number of fields related to evolutionary biology. He has studied evolutionary dynamics of virus infections and cancer progression. He has pioneered the mathematical approach for the evolution of human language. Nowak invented spatial reciprocity and stochastic game dynamics of finite populations. Nowak and Sigmund have cooperated for many years. Their work led to concepts like Generous Tit-for-tat, Win-stay, lose-shift and indirect reciprocity. They are co-authors of numerous papers in Nature, Science and Scientific American.

Nowak has published more than 200 papers. His first book, Virus Dynamics (together with Robert May) is a technical monograph describing the mathematical analysis of virus infection and immunology.

Beyond Edge:

We are devoted to researching every possible application of Mathematics and Computer Science to Biology. At the center of a quantitative approach to biology is evolutionary theory as pioneered by Charles Darwin. Concepts of evolutionary biology can be formulated in terms of mathematical equations describing mutation and selection of replicating individuals. We have active research projects on the evolutionary dynamics of infectious agents, cancer cells, altruistic behavior, and human language.

The Program for Evolutionary Dynamics was established in 2003 by Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers following an imaginative proposal by Jeffrey Epstein and Benedict Gross. The center operates under the auspices of William Kirby, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Martin Nowak, Professor of Mathematics and Biology, is the Faculty Director.