The game of scientific discovery

“A scientist, whether a theorist or an experimenter, proposes a few assertions and tests them step by step.” Karl Popper, 1934.

What can we say about the factors that influence collective discovery processes, such as the development of our scientific knowledge? What is the role of social play in these dynamics? These questions are fundamental when it comes to coordinating research activities or choosing heuristics for one’s own research. However, they can only be addressed within the framework of an epistemology, i.e. an hypothesis about the nature of knowledge.

The Nobel game shows that Popper’s epistemology is well adapted to this kind of intuition and makes it possible to propose an operational framework for modelling the activity of a scientific community. An analysis of the properties of this framework with tools from mathematics and multi-agent modeling.

This online multiplayer game offers new possibilities to study, from an experimental point of view, the properties of a knowledge discovery process based on the principle of conjecture/refutation.


  • Chavalarias , D. 2016 Publish or Perish, it that the question ?, Forum CNRS, “Que reste-t-il à découvrir ?”, Lille 19 nov. 2016 (Slides)
    Chavalarias, D., 2016. What’s wrong with Science? Scientometrics 1–23. doi:10.1007/s11192-016-2109-9 (pre-print PDF)
  • Chavalarias, D., Gardelle, V., 2008. Social simulation of collective a discovery process : the Nobel Game, in: 5th Conference of the European Social Simulation Association. Presented at the 5th conference of the European Social Simulation Association, Brescia, Italy.
  • Chavalarias, D., Charron, S., Gardelle, R., Bourgine, P., 2006. NOBEL, Le jeu de la découverte scientifique, Une approche analytique, experimentale et computationnelle, in: Conférence Modélisation, Optimisation et Simulation Des Systèmes, Défis et Opportunités (MOSIM’06). Presented at the conférence Modélisation, Optimisation et Simulation des Systèmes, Défis et Opportunités (MOSIM’06), Rabbat
  • Chavalarias D. 1998 La thèse de Popper est-elle réfutable ?,Master thesis in Cognitive Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique.


The Nobel Game allows you to create games with different parameters and explore the properties of a system based on principles of conjecture and rebuttal.