"Young Scientist Award for Socio- and Econophysics 2012" for Arne Traulsen

Max Planck researcher honoured for his work in evolutionary game theory

March 28, 2012

Eleven years ago, the German Physical Society (DPG) has introduced the “Young Scientist Award for Socio- and Econophysics” to promote interdisciplinary applications of physics. The Prize, endowed with 5000 euros and donated by d-fine, has been a key instrument to encourage research in this direction.

This year’s recipient is Arne Traulsen, Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön. He is working on evolutionary game theory, an extension of classical game theory to biology. In the past years, evolutionary game theory has attracted increasing interest of economists, sociologists, and also physicists. Arne Traulsen applies techniques from statistical physics to these systems and has been a major figure in developing the field of stochastic evolutionary game dynamics. One of the most intriguing problems of evolutionary game theory is the evolution of cooperation: How can cooperation between selfish actors emerge when every individual is not interested in the welfare of the group, but maximizes his or her personal payoff? The awardee’s work has shown how cooperation can be promoted by population structure and how it can be established, either by mutual enforcement of the actors themselves or by creating a central authority. He is also collaborating with scientists performing economic experiments to test the predictions of such models.

Arne Traulsen was born 1975 in Kiel and studied geophysics and physics in Kiel, Leipzig and Göteborg. He did his Diploma with Ulrich Behn at Leipzig University and then moved to Kiel, where he obtained a PhD in Theoretical Physics working with Prof. Dr. Heinz-Georg Schuster. After a PostDoc with Martin Nowak at Harvard University, he established an Emmy-Noether group for Evolutionary Dynamics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, where he obtained tenured position recently. The award ceremony takes place on March 28 during the spring meeting of the German Physical Society in Berlin. It will feature a keynote lecture by  Stefan Thurner from Vienna on financial systems and a presentation of the awardee on the evolution of cooperation is dilemma situations.

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