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Benjamin Hayden Sims

Phone (505) 667-5508


  • Biosciences
  • Cognitive sciences
  • Information Science and Technology
  • Uncertainty quantification (UQ)
  • Cyber systems
  • National infrastructure
  • Social networks
  • Terrorist networks
  • Cybersecurity
  • Computer security
  • Information security
  • Computer and Computational Sciences
  • Human factors
  • Information Science and Technology
  • Social data analysis
  • Social internet systems
  • Social behavioral analysis
  • Human computation
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Social and collaborative computing


I am a sociologist with broad interests in qualitative and quantitative social science. My primary area of expertise is the sociology of science and technology, including the organization of scientific and professional work, work flows and team interactions, socio-technical system dynamics, and the structure of knowledge and expertise. I have published on diverse topics including the development of earthquake engineering standards, safety in laboratory work, the impact of Hurricane Katrina, post-Cold War developments in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, and analysis of email networks. My research methods include ethnography, interviewing, qualitative and quantitative text analysis, social network analysis, statistical analysis, and knowledge elicitation.

Much of my recent work focuses on topics at the intersection of social science and computing, including social and behavioral aspects of cyber security, scientific computing work flows, human-computer interaction, social network analysis, and social systems modeling. 


Ph.D. Science Studies Program and Sociology Department, University of California, San Diego, 2000.
M.A. Science Studies Program and Sociology Department, University of California, San Diego, 1994.
B.A. Science in Society Program, Wesleyan University, 1991. 

LANL Positions

Scientist Statistical Sciences Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2003 – present.
Postdoctoral Research Associate Statistical Sciences Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2002 –
Postdoctoral Research Associate Environment, Safety and Health Division, Los Alamos National
Laboratory, 2000 – 2002.

Professional Societies

American Sociological Association

Society for Social Studies of Science



2013 Star-Nelkin Paper Award Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. For Benjamin Sims and Christopher R. Henke, “Repairing Credibility: Repositioning Nuclear Weapons Knowledge after the Cold War,” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 42, No. 3 (June 2012): 324-347.



Cornelia Verspoor, Benjamin Sims, John Ambrosiano, and Timothy Cleland, "System and Method for Knowledge Based Matching of Users in a Network." U.S. Patent Number 7,933,856 B2, April 26, 2011. (link)



Peer Reviewed Publications

Benjamin H. Sims, Nikolai Sinitsyn, and Stephan J. Eidenbenz, “Visualization and Modeling of Structural Features of a Large Organizational Email Network,” Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE/ASM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (August 2013): 787-791. (linkpdf)

Benjamin Sims and Christopher R. Henke, “Repairing Credibility: Repositioning Nuclear Weapons Knowledge after the Cold War,” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 42, No. 3 (June 2012): 324-347. (linkdraft pdfWinner of the 2013 Star-Nelkin Paper Award of the Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association

Benjamin Sims and Christopher Henke, “Maintenance and Transformation in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex,” IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Fall 2008):32-38. (link)

Benjamin H. Sims, Andrew C. Koehler, and Gregory D. Wilson, “Expert Opinion in Reliability,” in Encyclopedia of Statistics in Quality and Reliability, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Ron Kenett, and Frederick W. Faltin, eds. (John Wiley and Sons, 2008). (link)

Benjamin Sims, “Things Fall Apart: Disasters, Infrastructure, and Risk,” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 37, No. 1 (February 2007): 93-95. Introduction to “Special Section: Comments on the Hurricane Katrina Disaster,” with comments by Wesley Shrum, Barbara L. Allen, Benjamin Sims, Jameson M. Wetmore, Chandra Mukerji, Christopher R. Henke, Wiebe E. Bijker, and Stephen Hilgartner. (linkpdf onlinepage linking to all comments)

Benjamin Sims, “‘The Day After the Hurricane’ : Infrastructure, Order, and the New Orleans Police Department’s Response to Hurricane Katrina.” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 37, No. 1 (February 2007): 111-118. (linkpdf online)

Benjamin Sims, “Safe Science: Material and Social Order in Laboratory Work.” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 35, No. 3 (June 2005): 333-366. (linkdraft pdf)

Benjamin Sims, “Concrete Practices: Testing in an Earthquake-Engineering Laboratory.” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 29, No. 4 (August 1999): 483-518. (linkdraft pdf)

Book Chapters and Other Works

Benjamin Sims, “Resilience and Homeland Security,” in Limn Number One: Systemic Risk,Stephen J. Collier, Christopher M. Kelty, and Andrew Lakoff, eds. (2011): 6-8; previously published online as Anthropological Research on the Contemporary Studio, Episode 2: Systemic Risk.

Benjamin Sims, “Disoriented City: Infrastructure, Social Order, and the Police Response to Hurricane Katrina,” in Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails, Stephen Graham, ed. (Routledge, 2009): 41-53. (linkdraft pdf)

Benjamin Sims, “Book Review: Masco, J. (2006). The Nuclear Borderlands: The Manhattan Project in Post-Cold War New Mexico,” Science, Technology and Human Values, Vol. 33, No. 1 (January 2008): 137-142. (link)

Selected Presentations

Benjamin Sims, Nikolai Sinitsyn, and Stephan Eidenbenz, "Email Communications in a Large Scientific Research Organization." Informs Computing Society Conference, January 2013. (slides)

Benjamin Sims, "The Social Impact of Infrastructure Destruction: Social Order, Sociotechnical Systems, and Layered Indicators." Exploratory Simulation Technologies Group, Sandia National Laboratory, January 2010. (slides)

Benjamin Sims, "A Sociotechnical Framework for Infrastructure Analysis: Capturing Scale and Complexity." Science Studies Research Group, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University, September 2009. (slides)

Benjamin Sims, "A Sociotechnical Framework for Understanding Infrastructure Breakdown and Repair." Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, October 2009. (paper)

Benjamin Sims, "Revisiting the Uninvention Hypothesis: A Transactional View of Tacit Knowledge in Nuclear Weapons Design." Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, October 2007. (paper)

Benjamin Sims, "The Eternal and the Ephemeral: Bridges, Disposable Diapers, and the Limits of Technological Change." Society for the History of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, October 2003. (presentation notes)


On Shifting Ground: Earthquakes, Retrofit and Engineering Culture in California. Examines the history and organizational context of the seismic retrofit program at the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”), an effort to reinforce older freeway structures throughout the state to current seismic safety standards. In particular, focuses on how earthquake risks are understood in public and political contexts, how engineers assess the difficult-to-define risks posed to structures by earthquakes, and how these risk assessments enter into the design process. Also examines peer review in engineering and how Caltrans engineers and managers coped with rapid changes in their knowledge base. Based on archival and ethnographic research and interviews carried out at Caltrans, university research laboratories, and engineering firms. (pdf)