Martin Nowak
Nowak at Harvard in 2014
Born
Martin Andreas Nowak

April 7, 1965
Vienna, Austria
NationalityAustrian
Alma materUniversity of Vienna
Known forEvolution of cooperation, Evolutionary dynamics, Somatic evolution in cancer, Viral dynamics, Language evolution
AwardsWeldon Memorial Prize
Albert Wander Prize
Akira Okubo Prize
Scientific career
FieldsMathematical biology
InstitutionsHarvard University
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
University of Oxford
Princeton University
Institute for Advanced Study
ThesisStochastic strategies in the prisoner's dilemma (1989)
Doctoral advisorKarl Sigmund
Doctoral studentsDavid G. Rand
Erez Lieberman Aiden[1]
Marc Lipsitch
Sebastian Bonhoeffer
Websitewww.martinnowak.com

Martin Andreas Nowak (born April 7, 1965[2])[3] is an Austrian-born professor of mathematics and biology at Harvard University. He is one of the leading researchers in evolutionary dynamics.[3] Nowak has made contributions to the fields of evolutionary theory, cooperation, viral dynamics, and cancer dynamics.

Nowak held professorships at Oxford University and at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, before being recruited by Harvard in 2003. He was the director of Harvard's program for evolutionary dynamics from 2003 until 2020.

Early life and education

Nowak was born in Vienna, Austria.[3] He studied at Albertus Magnus Gymnasium and the University of Vienna, earning a doctorate in biochemistry and mathematics in 1989. He worked with Peter Schuster on quasi-species theory and with Karl Sigmund on evolution of cooperation. Nowak received the highest Austrian honors (Sub auspiciis Praesidentis) when awarded his degree.[4][5] In 1993, he received his "Habilitation" at the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Vienna. In 2001, he was elected into the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Career

From 1989 to 1998, Nowak worked at the University of Oxford with Robert May. First, he was an Erwin Schrödinger postdoctoral Scholar, then a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, then a Junior Research Fellow at Keble College. From 1992, he was a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow.[6] From 1997 to 1998, Nowak was a professor of mathematical biology.[7]

In 1998, Martin Nowak was recruited by the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

He was Head of the Institutes first Initiative in Theoretical Biology from 1998 until 2003.


In 2003, Nowak was recruited to Harvard University as Professor of Mathematics and Biology.[5] Nowak was co-director with Sarah Coakley of the Evolution and Theology of Cooperation project at Harvard University, sponsored by the Templeton Foundation.[8] where he was also a member of their Board of Advisers.[9]

Academic research

Nowak has authored books and scientific papers on topics in evolutionary game theory, cancer, viruses, infectious disease, the evolution of language, and the evolution of cooperation.[10][11][12][13][14][15] At Oxford, he helped to establish the fields of virus dynamics[16] and spatial games[17] (which later became evolutionary graph theory). He continued his collaboration with Karl Sigmund in game theory, proposing generous tit-for-tat[18] and win-stay, lose-shift,[19] inventing adaptive dynamics,[20] alternating games[21] and indirect reciprocity.[22] He collaborated with John Maynard Smith on genetic redundancy,[23] with Baruch Blumberg on hepatitis B virus,[24] with George Shaw and Andrew McMichael on HIV.[25][26] He worked with Robert May on evolution of virulence.[27]

In 1990, Nowak and Robert May proposed a mathematical model which explained the puzzling delay between HIV infection and AIDS in terms of the evolution of different strains of the virus during individual infections, to the point where the genetic diversity of the virus reaches a threshold whereby the immune system can no longer control it.[28] This detailed quantitative approach depended on assumptions about the biology of HIV which were subsequently confirmed by experiment.[29]

At Harvard, Nowak continued his work on virus dynamics, cancer dynamics, and evolutionary game theory. In 2004, he established evolutionary game dynamics in finite populations.[30] In 2005 and 2006 he wrote key papers establishing evolutionary graph theory.[31]In 2006, he suggested that cooperation was a third fundamental principle of evolution beside mutation and selection.[32] In 2007, he proposed prelife - a theory for the origin of life. [33] In 2008 and 2009 he suggested that positive interaction, but not punishment, promotes evolution of cooperation. [34]

In a paper in Science in 2006, Nowak enunciated and unified the mathematical rules for the five understood bases of the evolution of cooperation (kin selection, direct reciprocity, indirect reciprocity, network reciprocity, and group selection). Nowak suggests that evolution is constructive because of cooperation, and that we might add “natural cooperation” as a third fundamental principle of evolution beside mutation and natural selection.[35]

In a paper featured on the front cover of Nature in 2007, Nowak and colleagues demonstrated that the transition of irregular verbs to regular verbs in English over time obeys a simple inverse-square law, thus providing one of the first quantitative laws in the evolution of language.[36]

In 2010 a paper by Nowak, E. O. Wilson, and Corina Tarnita, in Nature, argued that standard natural selection theory represents a simpler and superior approach to kin selection theory in the evolution of eusociality.[37] This work has led to many comments including strong criticism from proponents of inclusive fitness theory.[38][39][40][41] Nowak maintains that the findings of the paper are conclusive and that the field of social evolution should move beyond inclusive fitness theory.[42]

He has over 300 scientific publications, of which 40 are in Nature and 15 in Science.[43]

Nowak's research interests include:

Published books

Nowak's first book Virus Dynamics: Mathematical Principles of Immunology and Virology, written with Robert May, was published by Oxford University Press in 2001.[44] Nowak's 2006 book Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of Life discusses the evolution of various biological processes. Reviewing Evolutionary Dynamics in Nature, Sean Nee called it a "unique book" that "should be on the shelf of anyone who has, or thinks they might have, an interest in theoretical biology."[45] The book received the Association of American Publishers' R.R. Hawkins Award for the Outstanding Professional, Reference or Scholarly Work of 2006.[46]

Nowak's book SuperCooperators: The Mathematics of Evolution, Altruism and Human Behaviour (Or, Why We Need Each Other to Succeed), co-authored with Roger Highfield, was published in 2011. SuperCooperators is both an autobiography of Nowak and a popular presentation of his work in mathematical biology on the evolution of cooperation, the origin of life, and the evolution of language. In the book, Nowak argues that cooperation is the third fundamental principle of evolution, next to mutation and natural selection. SuperCooperators received positive reviews in The New York Times, Nature, and the Financial Times.[47][48][49]

With Sarah Coakley, Nowak edited the 2013 book Evolution, Games, and God: The Principle of Cooperation, published by Harvard University Press. The volume features articles from experts in multiple fields who explore the interplay between theology and evolutionary theory as pertaining to cooperation and altruism.[50]

Awards

Nowak is a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He won the Weldon Memorial Prize, the Albert Wander Prize, the Akira Okubo Prize, the David Starr Jordan Prize[51] and the Henry Dale Prize.

Personal life

Nowak is a Roman Catholic.[52] In a 2007 lecture at Harvard, he argued that science and religion occupied different but complementary roles in humans' search for meaning, stating: "Science and religion are two essential components in the search for truth. Denying either is a barren approach."[53]

References

  1. ^ Martin Nowak at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; Highfield, Roger (2012). SuperCooperators: altruism, evolution, and why we need each other to succeed (1. Free Press trade paperback ed.). New York, NY: Free Press. ISBN 978-1-4516-2663-6.
  3. ^ a b c Wax, Heather (October 15, 2007). "Cooperation counts for math professor". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on July 3, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2024. Nowak, 42, a Harvard University mathematician and biologist, is at the forefront of a new field called evolutionary dynamics, in which Darwin's idea of natural selection is formulated in terms of math equations.
  4. ^ Witzmann, Erich (2011-04-03). "Martin Nowak: "Junge sollen unabhängig forschen"". Die Presse (in German). Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  5. ^ a b Anderson, Christina M. (2002-10-01). "University Lures Specialist In Interdisciplinary Science". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  6. ^ Payne, R J; Nowak, M A; Blumberg, B S (25 June 1996). "The dynamics of hepatitis B virus infection". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 93 (13): 6542–6546. Bibcode:1996PNAS...93.6542P. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.13.6542. PMC 39060. PMID 8692852.[non-primary source needed]
  7. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; Sigmund, Karl (June 1998). "Evolution of indirect reciprocity by image scoring". Nature. 393 (6685): 573–577. Bibcode:1998Natur.393..573N. doi:10.1038/31225. PMID 9634232. S2CID 4395576.[non-primary source needed]
  8. ^ Evolution and Theology of Cooperation
  9. ^ About Us : Who We Are : Board of Advisors Archived 2007-01-23 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Nowak, M.A. (2006). "Five rules for the evolution of cooperation". Science. 314 (5805): 1560–1563. Bibcode:2006Sci...314.1560N. doi:10.1126/science.1133755. PMC 3279745. PMID 17158317.
  11. ^ Wei, X.; Ghosh, S.K.; Taylor, M.E.; Nowak, M.A.; Hahn, B.H.; Saag, M.S.; Shaw, G.M. (1995). "Viral dynamics in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection". Nature. 373 (6510): 117–122. Bibcode:1995Natur.373..117W. doi:10.1038/373117a0. PMID 7529365. S2CID 4343212.
  12. ^ Reiter, J.G.; Makohon-Moore, A.P.; Gerold, J.M.; Heyde, A.; Iacobuzio-Donahue, C.A.; Vogelstein, B.; Nowak, M.A. (1995). "Viral dynamics in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection". Nature. 373 (6406): 117–122. doi:10.1126/science.aat7171. PMC 6329287. PMID 30190408.
  13. ^ Nowak, M.A.; May, R.M. (2018). "Minimal functional driver gene heterogeneity among untreated metastases". Science. 361 (6406): 1033–1037. Bibcode:1992Natur.359..826N. doi:10.1038/359826a0. PMC 6329287. PMID 30190408.
  14. ^ Nowak, Martin (October 2006). Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of Life. Belknap Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02338-3.
  15. ^ Michel, J.B.; Shen, Y.K.; Aiden, A.P.; Nowak, M.A.; Aiden, E.L. (2011). "Quantitative analysis of culture using millions of digitized books". Science. 331 (6014): 176–182. Bibcode:1992Natur.359..826N. doi:10.1038/359826a0. PMC 3279742. PMID 21163965.
  16. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; Anderson, Roy M.; McLean, Angela R.; Wolfs, Tom F. W.; Goudsmit, Jaap; May, Robert M. (15 November 1991). "Antigenic Diversity Thresholds and the Development of AIDS". Science. 254 (5034): 963–969. Bibcode:1991Sci...254..963N. doi:10.1126/science.1683006. PMID 1683006.[non-primary source needed]
  17. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; May, Robert M. (October 1992). "Evolutionary games and spatial chaos". Nature. 359 (6398): 826–829. Bibcode:1992Natur.359..826N. doi:10.1038/359826a0. S2CID 4328667.[non-primary source needed]
  18. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; Sigmund, Karl (January 1992). "Tit for tat in heterogeneous populations". Nature. 355 (6357): 250–253. Bibcode:1992Natur.355..250N. doi:10.1038/355250a0. S2CID 4281385.[non-primary source needed]
  19. ^ Nowak, Martin; Sigmund, Karl (July 1993). "A strategy of win-stay, lose-shift that outperforms tit-for-tat in the Prisoner's Dilemma game". Nature. 364 (6432): 56–58. Bibcode:1993Natur.364...56N. doi:10.1038/364056a0. PMID 8316296. S2CID 4238908.[non-primary source needed]
  20. ^ Nowak, Martin; Sigmund, Karl (September 1990). "The evolution of stochastic strategies in the Prisoner's Dilemma". Acta Applicandae Mathematicae. 20 (3): 247–265. doi:10.1007/BF00049570. S2CID 121951518.[non-primary source needed]
  21. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; Sigmund, Karl (May 1994). "The Alternating Prisoner's Dilemma". Journal of Theoretical Biology. 168 (2): 219–226. Bibcode:1994JThBi.168..219N. doi:10.1006/jtbi.1994.1101.[non-primary source needed]
  22. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; Sigmund, Karl (June 1998). "Evolution of indirect reciprocity by image scoring". Nature. 393 (6685): 573–577. Bibcode:1998Natur.393..573N. doi:10.1038/31225. PMID 9634232. S2CID 4395576.[non-primary source needed]
  23. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; Boerlijst, Maarten C.; Cooke, Jonathan; Smith, John Maynard (July 1997). "Evolution of genetic redundancy". Nature. 388 (6638): 167–171. doi:10.1038/40618. PMID 9217155.[non-primary source needed]
  24. ^ Payne, R J; Nowak, M A; Blumberg, B S (25 June 1996). "The dynamics of hepatitis B virus infection". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 93 (13): 6542–6546. Bibcode:1996PNAS...93.6542P. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.13.6542. PMC 39060. PMID 8692852.[non-primary source needed]
  25. ^ Wei, Xiping; Ghosh, Sajal K.; Taylor, Maria E.; Johnson, Victoria A.; Emini, Emilio A.; Deutsch, Paul; Lifson, Jeffrey D.; Bonhoeffer, Sebastian; Nowak, Martin A.; Hahn, Beatrice H.; Saag, Michael S.; Shaw, George M. (January 1995). "Viral dynamics in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection". Nature. 373 (6510): 117–122. Bibcode:1995Natur.373..117W. doi:10.1038/373117a0. PMID 7529365. S2CID 4343212.
  26. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; McMichael, Andrew J. (August 1995). "How HIV Defeats the Immune System". Scientific American. 273 (2): 58–65. Bibcode:1995SciAm.273b..58N. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0895-58.[non-primary source needed]
  27. ^ Nowak, M. A.; May, R. M. (22 January 1994). "Superinfection and the evolution of parasite virulence". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences. 255 (1342): 81–89. doi:10.1098/rspb.1994.0012. PMID 8153140. S2CID 44489629.
  28. ^ Eigen, M.; Nieselt-Struwe, K. (1990). "How old is the immunodeficiency virus?". AIDS. 4: S95–7. doi:10.1097/00002030-199001001-00014. PMID 2152591.
  29. ^ See Evolutionary Dynamics p171, etc.
  30. ^ https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/4686799
  31. ^ Lieberman, Erez; Hauert, Christoph; Nowak, Martin A. (January 2005). "Evolutionary dynamics on graphs". Nature. 433 (7023): 312–316. Bibcode:2005Natur.433..312L. doi:10.1038/nature03204. PMID 15662424. S2CID 4386820.[non-primary source needed]
  32. ^ Nowak, M. A. (2006). "Five rules for the evolution of cooperation". Science. 314 (5805): 1560–1563. Bibcode:2006Sci...314.1560N. doi:10.1126/science.1133755. PMC 3279745. PMID 17158317.
  33. ^ Nowak, Martin A.; Ohtsuki, Hisashi (2008). "Prevolutionary dynamics and the origin of evolution". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105 (39): 14924–14927. Bibcode:2008PNAS..10514924N. doi:10.1073/pnas.0806714105. PMC 2567469. PMID 18791073.
  34. ^ Dreber, Anna; Rand, David G.; Fudenberg, Drew; Nowak, Martin A. (2008). "Winners don't punish". Nature. 452 (7185): 348–351. Bibcode:2008Natur.452..348D. doi:10.1038/nature06723. PMC 2292414. PMID 18354481.
  35. ^ Nowak, M. A. (2006). "Five Rules for the Evolution of Cooperation". Science. 314 (5805): 1560–1563. Bibcode:2006Sci...314.1560N. doi:10.1126/science.1133755. PMC 3279745. PMID 17158317.
  36. ^ Lieberman, E.; Michel, J. B.; Jackson, J.; Tang, T.; Nowak, M. A. (2007). "Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language". Nature. 449 (7163): 713–716. Bibcode:2007Natur.449..713L. doi:10.1038/nature06137. PMC 2460562. PMID 17928859.
  37. ^ Nowak, M. A.; Tarnita, C. E.; Wilson, E. O. (2010). "The evolution of eusociality". Nature. 466 (7310): 1057–1062. Bibcode:2010Natur.466.1057N. doi:10.1038/nature09205. PMC 3279739. PMID 20740005.
  38. ^ Krakauer, D. C.; Flack, J. C. (2010). "Better living through physics". Nature. 467 (7316): 661. Bibcode:2010Natur.467..661K. doi:10.1038/467661a. PMID 20930827.
  39. ^ Gadagkar, R (2010). "Sociobiology in turmoil again". Current Science. 99: 1036–1041.
  40. ^ Rousset, F.; Lion, S. (2011). "Much ado about nothing: Nowak et al.'s charge against inclusive fitness theory". Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 24 (6): 1386–1392. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02251.x. PMID 21457170. S2CID 10363508. Despite their claims of novelty and the media frenzy, [Nowak, Tarnita and Wilson]'s article is actually a collection of worn-out arguments and thus represents a conceptual and technical step backward.
  41. ^ Abbot, P.; Abe, J.; Alcock, J.; et al. (2011). "Inclusive fitness theory and eusociality". Nature. 471 (7339): E1–E4. Bibcode:2011Natur.471E...1A. doi:10.1038/nature09831. PMC 3836173. PMID 21430721. [We] believe that [Nowak, Tarnita and Wilson's] arguments are based upon a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory and a misrepresentation of the empirical literature.
  42. ^ Nowak, M. A.; Tarnita, C. E.; Wilson, E. O. (2011). "Nowak et al. Reply" (PDF). Nature. 471 (7339): E9. Bibcode:2011Natur.471E...9N. doi:10.1038/nature09836. S2CID 52856286.
  43. ^ "Martin A. Nowak Publications". Archived from the original on 2006-08-27.
  44. ^ "Virus dynamics - Martin A. Nowak; Robert May - Oxford University Press". Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on January 8, 2024. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  45. ^ Nee, Sean (November 1, 2006). "Beautiful models". Nature. 444: 37. doi:10.1038/444037a. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  46. ^ "ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN PUBLISHERS ANNOUNCES THE WINNERS OF THE 2006 PSP AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE" (PDF). Harvard University. February 6, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 16, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  47. ^ Harman, Oren (April 8, 2011). "How Evolution Explains Altruism". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 14, 2023. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  48. ^ Milinski, Manfred (March 16, 2011). "Biology: A revolution in evolution". Nature. 471: 294–295. doi:10.1038/471294b. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  49. ^ Willetts, David (April 25, 2011). "The invisible hand that binds us all". Financial Times. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  50. ^ "Evolution, Games, and God — Harvard University Press". Harvard University Press. Archived from the original on January 8, 2024. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  51. ^ "David Starr Jordan Prize recipients". Archived from the original on 2014-08-25. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  52. ^ Ohlson, Kristin (October 25, 2012). "The Cooperation Instinct". Discover. Archived from the original on June 4, 2023. Retrieved January 8, 2024.
  53. ^ Powell, Alvin (March 15, 2007). "Can science, religion coexist in peace?". The Harvard Gazette. Archived from the original on September 22, 2023. Retrieved January 8, 2024.