Network scientist Albert-László Barabási was recently elected to two prestigious international academies—the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Romanian Academy of Sciences.
“This is an honor,” said Barabási, the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern. “Only a very small percentage of scientists are inducted at all, and even though I’ve been living in America for the past 30 years, it is very gratifying that these European academies recognize my work.”
Barabási was born in Hungary and raised in Transylvania, Romania, and has spent his career studying complex systems such as sub-cellular networks and the extent to which complex systems can be controlled.
He directs Northeastern’s Center for Complex Network Research and holds appointments in the university’s College of Science and College of Computer and Information Science, as well as in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Medicine and the Channing Division of Network Science at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Members of both the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Romanian Academy of Sciences are routinely called upon to advise government officials on policy matters related to their fields of study.
And network science, a relatively new field that incorporates aspects of physics, mathematics, engineering, and medical sciences, offers a lot to those discussions.
Network science is the broad term for the academic field concerned with the study of complex networks. This includes telecommunications networks, computer networks, biological networks, and social networks.
In this way, network science isn’t a traditional discipline, Barabási said. “It doesn’t fit into the traditional buckets of science but it has a really wide impact.”
He added: “My induction means more to the network science community than just me personally. Sitting at the table means we can actually help shape the direction of these societies and the people they help. The recognition of network science is an acknowledgement of this type of interdisciplinary research.”