Peter Turchin is a complexity scientist who works in the field of historical social science that he and his colleagues call Cliodynamics. His research interests lie at the intersection of social and cultural evolution, historical macrosociology, economic history, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Currently he investigates a set of broad and interrelated questions: How do human societies evolve? In particular, what processes explain the evolution of ultrasociality—our capacity to cooperate in huge anonymous societies of millions? Why do we see such a staggering degree of inequality in effectiveness of governance and economic performance among nations?
Peter has published two hundred articles, including a dozen in such top journals as Nature, Science, and PNAS (see Academic Publications). His publications are frequently cited and in 2004 he was designated as “Highly Cited Researcher” by ISIHighlyCited.com. He has authored eight books (see Books), including Secular Cycles (with Sergey Nefedov, Princeton, 2009), War and Peace and War (Penguin, 2005), Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth and Ages of Discord: A Structural-Demographic Analysis of American History.
Professor at the University of Connecticut in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, and Mathematics
Project Leader, Complexity Science Hub Vienna
Research Associate in the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford
Editor-in-Chief of Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution
Building a Historical and Archaeological Database
Currently Peter’s main research effort is directed at coordinating the Seshat Databank —a massive historical database of cultural evolution that is gathering and systematically organizing the vast amount of knowledge about past human societies, held collectively by thousands of historians and archaeologists.