About the Director

Peter CorningPeter A. Corning, Ph.D., was born in Pasadena, California. He received his undergraduate education at Brown University, after which he served as a naval aviator and as a science writer at Newsweek magazine for two years before returning to graduate school at New York University to complete an interdisciplinary social science-life science doctoral degree. He subsequently won an NIMH post-doctoral fellowship for training and research at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, following which he taught for nine years in the Human Biology Program at Stanford University while also holding research appointments in Stanford’s Behavior Genetics Laboratory and Engineering-Economic Systems Department.

For the past two decades, Dr. Corning has served as the director of the non-profit Institute for the Study of Complex Systems and as a founding partner of a private consulting firm in Palo Alto California. He has published numerous research papers and articles over the years, as well as seven books — one of which was a theoretical monograph on the role of synergy in evolution entitled: The Synergism Hypothesis: A Theory of Progressive Evolution (McGraw-Hill, 1983). His most recent books are The Fair Society: The Science of Human Nature and the Pursuit of Social Justice (University of Chicago Press 2011), and Synergistic Selection: How Cooperation Has Shaped Evolution and the Rise of Humankind (World Scientific 2018).

Dr. Corning is also a member of several professional scientific organizations and has lectured widely at academic institutions in the U.S., and in Europe. Currently he is a member of the scientific advisory board of the Evolution Institute. He is also a Past-President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Treasurer of the International Society for Bioeconomics and a member of the board of directors of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences. He was also on the board of directors of the Epic of Evolution Society and an actively contributing member of the International Society for Human Ethology, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, the International Society for Endocytobiology, the European Sociobiological Society, and the International Association for Cybernetics. In 1996, he was also the recipient of a research fellowship in evolutionary biology at the Collegium Budapest (an international institute for advanced study) in Hungary.