Jack Cowan works primarily to understand the workings of the brain. He uses mathematical theory to understand how neural circuits generate stable patterns of activity. His results are relevant to neurobiology and cognitive psychology. Academically trained in physics and electrical engineering, Cowan may be the world’s only university faculty member who holds dual appointments in mathematics and neurology. In 1986, he organized one of the founding workshops of the Santa Fe Institute, a private, non-profit research and education center devoted to the study of complexity and complex adaptive systems. Cowan also has studied the mathematics of the stock market.