Damon Centola, Ph.D.
Damon Centola is an Associate Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is Director of the Network Dynamics Group. Before coming to Penn, he was an Assistant Professor at M.I.T. and a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow at Harvard University. Damon completed his Ph.D. in sociology at Cornell University where he was an NSF IGERT Fellow in Non-linear Dynamics and Complex Systems. He is currently a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
Damon’s work addresses the theory of how behaviors spread through social networks. His research uses computational models and online experiments to study innovation diffusion, social epidemiology and cultural evolution. His papers have been published across several disciplines, including sociology, physics and public health, appearing in journals such as Science, the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, and the American Journal of Sociology. His work received the American Sociological Association’s Award for Outstanding Article in Mathematical Sociology in 2006, 2009, and 2011, and has garnered the ASA's Goodman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Sociological Methodology. He has developed new computational and experimental technologies, including the NetLogo Agent Based Modeling environment, and was awarded a U.S. Patent for inventing a method for building online networks to promote diffusion. Recent popular accounts of Damon’s work have appeared in The New York Times, Wired, and CNN. His research has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation.
Professor Centola's research uses web-based social science and computational models to study the impact of social networks on health behaviors, social cooperation, collective problem solving, and the emergence of political consensus versus polarization.