Institutional and cultural pressures lead scientists to avoid risk-taking and choose inefficient research strategies, two new University of Chicago papers conclude. Despite increased opportunities for groundbreaking experiments, most scientists choose conservative research strategies to reduce personal risk, which makes collective discovery slower and more expensive.


As President Barack Obama addressed police chiefs in Chicago this week, a Data Science for Social Good project that uses data to prevent adverse police incidents received praise from the White House.


To build a sustainable career, many scientists have to balance safe research that will likely be published with ambitious, riskier experiments. A new paper from CI Senior Fellows James Evans and Andrey Rzhetsky, with UCLA assistant professor of sociology Jacob Foster, finds that these cultural pressures handicap scientific innovation, encouraging incremental research to the detriment of bolder discoveries. 


Urban Center for Computation and Data

The Urban Center for Computation and Data unites scientists from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory with educators, architects and government officials to capitalize upon the growing availability of city datasets and the emergence of urban sensor networks. The interdisciplinary collaboration will analyze and integrate those data sources and build complex computer models that can anticipate the impact of policy decisions, investments, urban development or other interventions on a city and its residents.

Knowledge Lab logo

Knowledge does not arise from the simple accumulation of facts. Rather, it is a complex, dynamic system, and its emergent outcomes - including scientific consensus - are unpredictable. The complexity of knowledge creation has exploded with the growing number of participating scientists and citizens. If human knowledge is to grow efficiently, we need a deeper understanding of the processes by which knowledge is conceived, validated, shared and reinforced. We need to understand the limits of knowledge in relation to these processes. In short, we need knowledge about knowledge.

The Hack Arts Lab (HAL) provides an open-access laboratory for creative digital fabrication and visualization.  Thismakerspace-styled workshop is designed to support a breadth of activity ranging from undergraduate projects to faculty-led exploration.  

HAL resources include 3D printers, laser cutter, advanced graphics, and microcontroller workbenches, all offered at minimal cost.

Researcher Spotlight