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Jacob Foster

Assistant Professor, UCLA

Jacob-Foster-metascience2019My empirical work focuses on computational approaches to the sociology of science. I blend network analysis, complex systems thinking, and data-driven probabilistic modeling with the qualitative insights of the science studies literature to probe the strategies, dispositions, and social processes that shape the production and persistence of scientific ideas. I also develop formal models of scientific behavior and the evolutionary dynamics of ideas and institutions. Fundamentally, I aim to understand the social world as constituted by, and constitutive of, ideas, beliefs, and practices. Science provides an excellent “model organism” for this endeavor. My approach is strongly informed by research on complex systems and biological and cultural evolution.

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