Martin A. Nowak is Professor of Biology and of Mathematics at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. Dr Nowak works on the mathematical description of evolutionary processes including the evolution of cooperation and human language, the dynamics of virus infections and human cancer. His major discoveries include: the mechanism of HIV disease progression (1991), spatial game dynamics (1992), generous tit-for-tat and win-stay,lose-shift (1993), the rapid turnover and evolution of drug resistance in HIV infection (1995), quantifying the dynamics of HBV infection (1996), mechanisms for the evolution of genetic redundancy (1997), the evolution of cooperation by indirect reciprocity (1998), the first mathematical approach for studying the evolution of human language (1999-2002), evolutionary game dynamics in finite populations and the 1/3 rule (2004), evolutionary graph theory (2005), the first quantification of the in vivo kinetics of a human cancer (2005), five rules for the evolution of cooperation (2006), the dynamics of language regularization (2007) and "winners don’t punish" (2008). At the moment Dr Nowak is working on ‘prelife’, which is a formal approach to study the origin of evolution.
An Austrian by birth, he studied biochemistry and mathematics at the University of Vienna with Peter Schuster and Karl Sigmund. He received his Ph.D. sub auspiciis praesidentis in 1989. He went on to the University of Oxford as an Erwin Schrödinger Scholar and worked there with Robert May, the later Lord May of Oxford, with whom he co-authored numerous articles and his first book, Virus Dynamics (OUP, 2000). Nowak was Guy Newton Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College and later Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Biomedical Sciences and E. P. Abraham Junior Research Fellow at Keble College. Dr. Nowak became head of the mathematical biology group in Oxford in 1995 and Professor of Mathematical Biology in 1997. A year later he moved to Princeton to establish the first program in theoretical biology at the Institute for Advanced Study. He accepted his present position at Harvard University in 2003.
A corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Nowak is the recipient of Oxford’s Weldon Memorial Prize, the Albert Wander Prize of the University of Bern, the Akira Okubo Prize of the Society for Mathematical Biology, the Roger E. Murray Prize awarded by the Institute for Quantitative Research in Finance, the David Starr Jordan Prize given jointly by Stanford, Cornell, and Indiana universities, and the Henry Dale Prize of The Royal Institution, London. He has delivered numerous lectures in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. He is a member of the Templeton Foundation Board of Advisors. He is a member of the scientific advisory board of the University of Vienna and the Institute of Science and Technology Austria. Dr. Nowak is the author of over 300 papers published in scientific journals. His 2006 book, Evolutionary Dynamics, which was published by Harvard University Press, provides an overview of the powerful yet simple laws that govern the evolution of living systems. His latest book, SuperCooperators, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2011.