Nathan Collins

Omidyar Fellow
Santa Fe Institute

Nathan Explains Science!


My research focuses on the dynamics of political behavior, i.e., how the mass public adapts to the political environment. Because I am interested in how behavior changes, I draw on adaptive theories of behavior including formalizations of Herbert Simon's satisficing concept, evolutionary game theory, and computational psychology. Substantively, my interests lie in understanding voter turnout, vote choice, and other aspects of political and social behavior. Lately, I have focused much of my attention on developing more nuanced dynamical models of voter turnout.

Some recent papers:

The Dynamics of Voter Turnout and Party Choice.

A Unified Model of Proximity and Directional Preferences. Revise and resubmit at Quarterly Journal of Political Science.

The Adaptive Dynamics of Turnout (2009). Nathan A. Collins, Sunil Kumar, and Jonathan Bendor. The Journal of Politics 71(2):457-472.

My CV in pdf format.

Possibly Interesting Trivia

For a while, I was a quite serious student (?) photojournalist. Digital cameras will spoil you, let me tell you. Should you be interested, you can see some of my work in the archives of MIT's The Tech and here, the Web site of MIT's documentary photography class, which for some reason still has my final project posted.

I am a identical twin. Marcus, who was born 10 minutes earlier, is a post-doc at the University of Washington Department of Physics. He's a biophysicist.

I have taught for the past eight years (with one year off) at Satori, which my friend F. Tyler describes as "nerd camp." Actors, budding physicists, that sort of thing. F. and I and many of our friends were campers back in the day.

I like to climb and ski. Lately, I've been trying to get more into ski mountaineering, but there aren't any pictures of that yet. For good trip reports and tips --- like how to make your own GU --- see my good friend Alpine Dave.

For what it's worth, I used to be a physicist. My advisor was, among other things, the inventor of agriculture. If you visit his site, you may recognize the layout and style.

Last updated 9 December 2010.