Dr. Nicholas Christakis is named the Sol Goldman Family Professor

Dr. Nicholas Christakis, newly named as the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the areas of social networks and biosocial science.

Before joining the Yale faculty on July 1, Christakis served as professor of medicine, medical sociology, and sociology at Harvard University. He has also held faculty positions in sociology and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago.

At Yale, Christakis directs the Human Nature Lab, and he is co-director of the new Yale Institute for Network Science, which aims to explore fundamental properties of social, biological, and computational networks, and invent approaches to intervene in them for the better. His current research is mainly focused on two areas: the social, mathematical, and biological rules governing how social networks form, and the social and biological implications of how they operate to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. His lab uses both observational and experimental methods to study these phenomena, exploiting techniques from sociology, computer science, biosocial science, demography, statistics, behavior genetics, evolutionary biology, epidemiology, and other fields.

Christakis received his B.S. degree from Yale in 1984, his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, his M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Christakis is the author of several books including “Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care,” and, with J.H. Fowler, “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives,” which has been translated into 20 languages. He has also written more then 150 articles.

Christakis was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and was made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010. In 2009, he was named by Time magazine to its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.