INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SUMMIT DARWIN AND EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE PROGRAMME 29 JUNEâ€“2 JULY 2009
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issues and the future of species on our fragile planet. In this year’s summit, you can contribute to discussions and take inspiration from Darwin’s own life.
Welcome to the 4th International Student Summit on behalf of the British Council and the Natural History Museum.
The British Council has brought 65 international students to London to join 60 UK regional delegates and 70 students from London to discuss Darwin and evolutionary science. Over the next three days you will hear and challenge academics in discussion about the background, impact and future of evolutionary science. Each day will end with ‘Question time’ where you can delve deeper by interrogating the panel of experts who have spoken earlier in the day.
This year, the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’, we explore the legacy of the co-founder of evolutionary biology. While Darwin’s contributions to science are immense, and the impact of his ideas in society are powerful and controversial, there was little in the young Darwin to suggest what his career would bring. Charles Darwin was the son of a prosperous country doctor in Shrewsbury, in the largely rural English county of Shropshire. As a boy he loved the countryside and its creatures but had trouble deciding on a career. He abandoned medical school in Edinburgh, and was sent to Cambridge University to prepare for life as a vicar. At university Darwin met some of the most brilliant naturalists of the day. In Edinburgh he studied invertebrates with the renowned Professor Grant and at Cambridge, the botanist Professor Henslow and geologist Adam Sedgwick recognised his potential. In 1831 Darwin acquired a berth on the naval survey vessel HMS Beagle for a world voyage. During the five-year journey Darwin kept a scientific field journal, covering biology, geology and anthropology, with detailed notes and observations on the indigenous animals, plants, birds and insects of the places he visited – Brazil, Chile, Peru and the Galapagos Archipelago, Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia among others. Since it was first published, his account of his journey on the Beagle has never been out of print. Darwin studied, experimented and observed plants and animals for the rest of his life. In 1859, he published ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’, which was to shake our understanding of the origin of all life on earth.
We hope you enjoy the Summit, take inspiration from Darwin’s own life and experience and enjoy making new friends and encountering new ideas.
Fern Elsdon-Baker Head of Darwin Now, (BC)
Bob Bloomfield Head of Innovation (NHM)
Helen Mould Project Manager (BC)
Jane Mainwaring Student Summit Co-ordinator (NHM)
Darwin’s insight was that species adapt to their environments over time and that humans are, therefore, descended from earlier species. Today, the teaching of modern biology and many aspects of contemporary medicine are founded upon his theory of evolution. His ideas have had a wide-reaching influence on a range of other academics, including historians, theologians, novelists, psychologists, philosophers and sociologists. Indeed, many of the questions Darwin raised a century and a half ago are just as likely to be discussed and debated today as they were in his lifetime. Today our concerns are not just about life on earth and its origins, we are aware of issues such as climate change, pandemic disease, alien species invasions and biodiversity loss. Understanding evolutionary mechanisms lies behind all of these
London Student Time table Monday 29 June
Tuesday 30 June 1000
Responding to student feedback from last years Summit we have arranged a pre-Summit event where students can get to know the Museum and each other in advance of the main meeting. This programme has been specially arranged for you and I would appreciate it if your school/college will confirm that you are coming. 1230
Arrive at the NHM Please allow about 15 minutes to enter by the Cromwell Road entrance of the Museum as bag searches are in operation. Make your way to the Mary Anning Gallery, to the right of the Central hall, adjacent to the gallery restaurant. Registration Mary Anning Gallery Here you will receive your Summit pack and badge. It is important that your Summit name badge is visible at all times while you are at the NHM. Nature Live Your Summit host Charlotte Coales will run this introductory session. Behind the scenes tours We have arranged that you can visit some of our departments behind the scenes, where visitors are rarely invited. Look for your name on the tour list and gather into groups. Your tours will be numbered 1-6. Once allocated a group you will not be able to change. However, London students should remember that the Museum does host Darwin Centre tours daily for its visitors and you could return during the Summer holidays to join one of these groups. Ice breaker activity Above the Mary Anning Gallery is the staff canteen. We have taken over this for the afternoon. Here you will meet the national and international students and begin to get to know each other. London students may take this opportunity to look around the Museum public galleries or may leave for home.
Make your way to Earth Galleries entrance Natural History Museum Exhibition Road London SW7 5DB Remember your Summit name badge, programme and water bottle. Please allow time for a bag search at the entrance. Refreshments will be available in Flett Lobby
Introduction to the Nature Live Team the Quizdom handsets Flett Theatre
Welcome to the NHM and the Summit by Lord Neil Kinnock of Bedwellty
Key Note 1 Darwin was right â€“ an overview of the importance of genetics in the modern world Professor Steve Jones, University College London
Biology before Darwin Dr Sandy Knapp, Botany Dept, Natural History Museum
The fossil evidence for evolution Dr Adrian Lister, Palaeontology Dept, Natural History Museum
Code of the wild: can DNA change the world . . . again? Dr Karen James, Dept of Botany, Natural History Museum
From Wool to Genes and back again: the curious case of the alpaca Dr Mike Bruford, School of Bioscience, Cardiff University
Question Time Your opportunity to ask the panel any questions relating to the dayâ€™s talks Chair: Quentin Cooper and panel speakers
Wednesday 1 July 0920
Make your way to Cromwell Road entrance Natural History Museum
Group Photo We will take photographs of all the participants attending the Summit. Please make every effort to arrive on time. Remember to wear your Summit name badge to gain entry to the Museum.
Museum Opens Earth Galleries entrance, Exhibition Road
Question Time Your opportunity to ask the panel any questions relating to the day’s talks Chair: Professor Robert Foley and panel speakers
Refreshments will be available in Flett Lobby 1030
Review of the previous day Nature Live team
Key Note 2 Ideas on human evolution since Darwin Professor Chris Stringer, Palaeontology Dept, Natural History Museum
New approaches to human origins, Evolution and diversity Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr, Duckworth Laboratory, University of Cambridge
Evolution and human behaviour: Thinking in terms of the four ‘whys’ Dr Daniel Nettle, Centre for Behaviour & Evolution, Newcastle University
Darwin’s way of thinking Professor Mike Depledge, Environment and Human Health, Peninsula Medical School
Chance and design in evolution? Professor Richard Fortey, Dept Palaeontology, Natural History Museum
Thursday 2 July 1000
The British Council and the Natural History Museum would like to thank everyone whose help and co-operation have made this programme possible
Make your way to Earth Galleries entrance, Exhibition Road Natural History Museum Remember your Summit name badge, programme and water bottle. Please allow time for a bag search at the entrance. Refreshments will be available in Flett Lobby
Review of the previous day Nature Live team
Our place in the world Dr Oliver Curry, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford
The implications for ethics and politics Professor Janet Radcliff Richards, Practical Philosophy, University of Oxford
From Darwin to Churchill: Evolution and the psychology of leadership and fellowship Professor Mark Van Vugt, Social and Organisational Psychology, University of Kent
Key Note 3 Why sex differences matter: An evolutionary perspective Helena Cronin, London School of Economics
Question Time Your opportunity to ask the panel any questions relating to the dayâ€™s talks Chair: Dr Richard Webb and panel speakers
Closing comments Dr Bob Bloomfield, Head of Innovation, Natural History Museum
Final tea and talk
Speakers Tuesday 30 June
on "The Language of the Genes" and has written and presented a Radio 3 series on science and the arts, "Blue Skies", and a TV series on human genetics, "In the Blood". He also appears on other radio and TV programmes, such as Today, Question Time, Late Review and Newsnight, and writes a regular column in The Daily Telegraph, "View from the Lab". His books include Genetics for Beginners, The Language of the Genes, In The Blood, Almost like a Whale: The Origin of Species Updated and Y: the Descent of Men.
Lord Neil Kinnock of Bedwellty Neil Kinnock was elected to the House of Commons as MP for Bedwellty (later Islywn) in 1970. He was elected to the Labour Party National Executive in 1978 and appointed Chief Education Spokesman of the Labour Party in 1979. In 1983 he was elected Labour Party Leader and leader of HM Opposition. During his time at the head of the Labour Party he extensively modernised and reformed the organisation, constitution and policies of the party. He stepped down from the Party leadership in 1992 and three years later was appointed to the European Commission. He was European Commissioner for Transport from 1995 to 1999 and, from 1999 to 2004, Vice-President of the Commission. He was made a member of the House of Lords in 2005 as Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty. He has been President of Cardiff University since 1998 and Chair of the British Council, since December 2004. Lord Kinnock is a Patron of Femmes d’Europe, Patron, National Museums of Wales Trustee, Institute for Public Policy Research, President, Sportsaid Wales, Hon President, Labour Finance & Industry Group and Non-executive Director, DRS Data & Research Services.
Professor Steve Jones Steve Jones was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, and has degrees from the University of Edinburgh and University of Chicago. Much of his academic research has been concerned with snails and the light their anatomy can shed on biodiversity and genetics. He is professor of genetics at Galton laboratory of University College London, and has had visiting posts at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Davis, University of Botswana, Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, and Flinders University in Adelaide. Steve Jones is probably best known to the general public as a regular broadcaster and writer of popular books on scientific issues. He gave the 1991 Reith Lectures
Dr Sandy Knapp Sandra Knapp obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Botany from Pomona College, in Claremont, California and her PhD in 1986 from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. She is a specialist on the taxonomy of the nightshade family, Solanaceae, and has spent much time in the field in Central and South America collecting plants. She came to the Natural History Museum, London, in 1992 to manage the international project Flora Mesoamericana -a synoptic inventory of the approximately 18,000 species of plants of the isthmus of Central America. She is also the author of several popular books on the history of science and botanical exploration, including the award-winning Potted Histories (2004). She is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and actively involved in promoting the role of taxonomy worldwide. Her current projects include the Planetary Biodiversity Inventory project Solanum, collaborative research in the genomic evolution of Nicotiana, Flora Mesoamericana and biodiversity projects in the Neotropics. Outline of ‘Biology before Darwin’ Modern biology is often thought of as beginning with Charles Darwin's articulation of evolution by natural selection in his great book, On the Origin of Species. Biology and even evolutionary thought did exist before 1859; natural history was a popular subject and was full of incident and controversy even before the mid 19th century. The cultural soup in which Darwin and his contemporaries worked was informed by those natural historians who had gone before them. Sandy will look at evolution and the origin of species from the perspective of some of these men – among them Darwin's own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin and the great French botanist Jean-Baptiste de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck. She will also explore how the discoveries of Gregor Mendel, a contemporary of Charles Darwin's whose ideas about how heredity worked were not known to Darwin, combined with the powerful narrative coming from natural history to create the fundamental basis of the biology we study
genomic methods to systematics and evolutionary biology. Karen is currently on a half-time secondment from research to coordinate science projects for Darwin200, a museum-wide campaign and wider consortium aiming to celebrate the work of Charles Darwin and his legacy during the period of 2008-9. Dr Adrian Lister Adrian is currently a Research Leader in the Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum. He is also an Honorary Professor at University College London, where he was until recently Professor of Palaeobiology. Adrian’s special interests are in the evolution of mammals during the ice ages – with special reference to large mammals such as mammoths and deer. He is acknowledged as a leading authority on the woolly mammoth – his book Mammoths (Marshall Editions, with Paul Bahn) has sold over 50,000 copies in five languages and is now in its third edition. Other research interests include the analysis of DNA from fossils and the causes of extinction of large mammals at the end of the ice age. Adrian trained in Cambridge as a zoologist, and his interest in living mammals continues as a further strand to his research. He is a trustee of the Scientific Exploration Society and has led expeditions to study living elephants in Nepal, India and West Africa, with a trip to Borneo in 2008. He is on the specialist panels of IUCN (the World Conservation Union) for both Asian elephants and deer. Outline of ‘The fossil evidence for evolution’ When Darwin published the Origin of Species in 1859, there was scarcely any fossil evidence for evolution. The ensuing 150 years has seen the accumulation of a huge quantity of fossils demonstrating the evolutionary process. These include an impressive array of fossil hominids illustrating the evolution of our own species, as well as key stages in major evolutionary transitions such as the origin of land vertebrates and the origin of birds. Very detailed fossil sequences also demonstrate the origin of individual species and their adaptation to their environment. This will be illustrated with examples of marine fossils from deep-sea cores, and of the speaker’s own work on the evolution of the woolly mammoth.
Dr Karen James Karen James received her PhD in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA in 2002 and is now a postdoctoral research assistant in the Department of Botany at the Natural History Museum, London. Her research interests include developing a procedure for DNA-based identification of plant species using the British flora as a model system, and innovative applications of
Outline of ‘Code of the wild: can DNA change the world ...again?’ Less than fifty years after humans deciphered the structure of DNA, the human genome itself had been fully sequenced. However, these last fifty years have also seen progress of a different sort: the human population has more than doubled and global economic activity quadrupled. The extent to which these increases have impacted the natural environment is truly staggering: since 1950, over 3 billion hectares of forest cover – roughly the area of Canada, China and the United States combined – has been destroyed, and we estimate that 600,000 species have vanished. Scientists at the Natural History Museum and over 100 other organisations around the world hope that a new DNA-based species identification system called “DNA barcoding” can help to monitor – and therefore protect – the most vulnerable and biodiverse areas on earth.
Dr Mike Bruford Mike did his PhD at the University of Leicester on the development of DNA fingerprinting techniques in birds and genome mapping in chickens using minisatellite DNA markers. Between 1990 and 1999, he worked at the Institute of Zoology - the scientific arm of the Zoological Society of London, developing genetic methods for endangered species. He joined Cardiff University in 1999, and is currently a Research Group Leader in the School of Biosciences in Cardiff. He has continued to develop ways to use genetics in endangered species recovery, especially for rare and elusive mammals. Mike has worked in collaboration with partners in Peru for the last twelve years, focusing on the conservation and management of Peru's South American camelids. Outline of ‘From Wool to Genes and Back Again: the curious case of the alpaca . . . ’ Understanding how animals were domesticated can tell us a great deal about human history and society. South America is an extremely important region in the history of plant and animal domestication. Many items we now take for granted, such as cotton, potatoes, chocolate, chillies, corn, guinea pigs, llamas and alpacas, were domestication in south and Central America by native Americans thousands of years ago. Alpacas are now an important part of the economy of the Andean highlands - providing income to impoverished communities of farmers
(campesinos) through wool production. However, problems with the quality of the wool mean that income is not as high as it could be, and understanding how alpacas were domesticated has proved to be a key step in addressing this problem. Mike will talk about the use of DNA profiling to study purity and fibre quality in alpacas and how DNA techniques and understanding the evolution of alpacas may allow sustainable production of alpaca wool in Peru and other Andean countries in the future.
Quentin Cooper Question Time Chair Quentin studied psychology and artificial intelligence at Edinburgh University. He then joined the BBC and is now a well-known broadcaster, presenting the UK’s most listened to science programme, The Material World, every week on BBC Radio 4. Besides broadcasting, Quentin regularly fronts popular science events, from public debates to specialised workshops. His work takes him to organisations as varied as the British Association for the Advancement of Science and Croydon Council. He’s written science and technology articles for the Guardian, Radio Times, the Mail on Sunday, the Sunday Times and various magazines. He was part of the September 2004 Cape Farewell journey to the Arctic.
Speakers Wednesday 1 July
Professor Chris Stringer Chris is merit researcher in the Palaeontology department at the Natural History Museum, London. He has worked at the Natural History Museum since 1973. He is Research Leader in human origins and a Fellow of the Royal Society. His early research concentrated on the relationship of Neanderthals and early modern humans in Europe, but through his work on the Out of Africa theory of modern human origins, he now collaborates with archaeologists, dating specialists and geneticists in attempting to reconstruct the global evolution of modern humans. He has excavated at sites in Britain, Gibraltar, Morocco and Turkey. Outline of keynote ‘Ideas on Human Evolution since Darwin’ When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, there was very little fossil evidence of human evolution, and the situation had not improved much when he published The Descent of Man in 1871. However, since then, and especially since 1924, evidence for a deep human evolutionary history has grown dramatically. We can now recognise three main phases of human evolution, the first two of which only occurred in Africa, our evolutionary homeland. An early phase from about 7 – 4 million years ago represents a period close to the evolutionary split from a common ancestor shared with the chimpanzees. The record is still relatively poor, and although the creatures concerned apparently walked upright, they were still ape-like. The next phase, the australopithecines ("southern apes"), is represented by a diversity of fossils and species spread from South to North-East Africa, dating between about 4 and 2 million years ago. These creatures were certainly bipeds, but were still small-brained, and probably still largely ape-like in their biology and behaviour. The last phase, the human stage, was characterised by the evolution of a human body shape and an increasing brain size, dietary range, behavioural complexity, and an increasingly global spread. The human phase has lasted from about 2 million years ago until the present.
Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr Marta Mirazon Lahr is Reader in Human Evolutionary Biology and Director of the Duckworth Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. She is also a Fellow of Clare College and was a co-founder of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies in Cambridge. Her research principally has been concerned with the evolution and diversity of modern humans, Homo sapiens. This research has involved a range of disciplines, including human palaeontology, evolutionary genetics, linguistics and archaeology. She currently has field projects in Libya, India and Kenya. Among her publications is ‘The Evolution of Human Diversity’. Outline of ‘New approaches to human origins, evolution and diversity’ Since Darwin published the origin of species scientists have looked for ways of tackling the evolution of humans. For most of the last century, comparative anatomy fossils and archaeology have been the main sources of information about the two key evolutionary human questions – namely what Huxley called ‘Man’s place in Nature’, and how did humans evolve in all their diversity. In recent years genetics, linguistics and other disciplines have come to throw light on both these questions. In this talk, Marta will consider these new approaches and what they have to say about human origins, evolution and diversity.
Dr Daniel Nettle Daniel Nettle is an evolutionary biologist largely because his previous career as a professional actor did not make him enough money. This statement is not quite true, but it is near enough to the truth to be worth repeating. He has made the wrong decisions at almost every point in his life, including studying the wrong subjects at school, turning down dream jobs, and changing research interests just when he was getting somewhere. Yet despite this, he enjoys himself and has managed somehow to make a living. One of the few correct ideas he has ever managed to stick to is the idea that Darwin’s theory of natural selection is a very important tool for trying to understand human behaviour. Outline of ‘Evolution and human behaviour: Thinking in terms of the four ‘whys’ In this talk, Daniel will introduce the ways we can use Darwin’s theory of evolution
to understand behaviour. It seems less obvious that behaviour could be an adaptation than is the case for an anatomical or physical trait, but evolutionary theory applies just as well. I will introduce the framework known as Tinbergen’s four ‘whys’ (function, mechanism, development, evolutionary history) as a way of thinking about the behaviour of animals including humans. He will illustrate with examples from his own work on the timing of reproduction in humans. Daniel would like to stress that looking at human behaviour in an evolutionary way does not imply that human behaviour is genetically determined or cannot be changed. Instead, evolution provides a way of putting all the different components of an explanation together.
Professor Michael H. Depledge Michael Depledge holds the Chair of Environment and Human Health at the Peninsula Medical School, Devon, UK. He is a Commissioner of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, a board member of Natural England and Chairman of the Science Advisory Group of DG-Research in the European Commission. Michael is a biologist. His did his PhD in the toxicology of marine organisms. He then moved into medical research looking at the causes of lung damage in severely ill cancer patients receiving bone marrow transplants at the Royal Marsden Hospital. In 1982 he became Lecturer in Physiology at the University of Hong Kong and in 1987 was appointed to the first Chair of Ecotoxicology in Europe at Odense University, Denmark. In 1994 he returned to the UK as the founding Director of the Plymouth Environmental Research Centre. Michael was invited to become the Chief Scientific Advisor of the UK Government’s Environment Agency in Sept, 2002. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed scientific papers in leading international journals and books and was awarded a Doctor of Science (DSc) degree by the University of London (1996). Since 1990 Michael has been an expert advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme and to the World Health Organisation. He was Honorary Visiting Professor at the School of Public Health, Harvard University, USA (1998 to 2004), and is a former Keeley Visiting Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford University. Outline of ‘Darwin’s way of thinking’ Charles Darwin’s way of thinking led him to one of the greatest ideas of all time – the theory of evolution by natural selection. In this talk, the reasons that underlie how we come to believe things will be examined with examples from contemporary science and religion. The role of evidence will be considered, both in relation to the
way we live and to how our country is governed. The limitations of evidence will be explored with reference to climate change, threats from environmental pollution and with regard to human demographic change. The potential of Darwin’s way of thinking to tackle the problems that humans face in the future will be compared and contrasted with what religions can offer.
Professor Richard Fortey Richard Fortey FRS was until recently senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum and is Visiting Professor of Palaeobiology at Oxford. He has been Collier Professor in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology at Bristol University. He is the author of 200 research papers and 6 popular books, of which Life: an unauthorised biography (1997) is possibly the best known. He was awarded the Michael Faraday medal of the Royal Society for furthering the public engagement with science in 2007, and has received the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society of London, the Linnean Medal for Zoology of the Linnean Society of London and the Frink Medal of the Zoological Society. He is currently president of the Geological Society inits Bicentenary year. He lives in Henley-onThames, from which base he can study mycology in the Chiltern Hills.
Professor Robert Foley Question time Chair Robert Foley is the Leverhulme Research Professor of Human Evolution at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of King's College Cambridge, and a Fellow of the British Academy. Apart from a period at the University of Durham, he studied and has taught at Cambridge. His research has focused on human evolutionary ecology, and has ranged from the early hominids of Africa to recent huntergatherers. Much of this work has been concerned with developing and applying general evolutionary theory to understand human behaviour and adaptation, as well as our evolutionary history. Among his publications are Another Unique Species (Longman, 1987), Humans before Humanity (Blackwells, 1995), and the Principles of Human Evolution (with R.Lewin, Blackwells, 2003).
Outline of ‘Chance or design in evolution?’ Natural selection works by the survival and prospering of genes that have an advantage in ensuring reproductive success of the organism. In some cases the fossil record can reveal details of the transition from one major form to another as in the conquest of land by the tetrapods. The major breakthroughs in evolution see the opening up of new habitats like this with the concomitant opportunities for co-evolution. The fossil record is also full of examples of the 'emergent properties' of evolution such as the repeated appearance of reef-like habitats. However, life's history has also been influenced by external events. Geography has changed repeatedly because of plate tectonics and life has had to adapt or go extinct in response to this. Mass extinction events were not predictable, and organisms that survived may have been no more 'virtuous' than those that perished. The current biota is a reflection of this complex interplay between natural selection and historical process through billions of years.
Speakers Thursday 2 July
Dr Oliver Curry Oliver Curry is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. He is also a Research Associate in the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, at the London School of Economics. Oliver originally wanted to be a forensic scientist; but his careers officer told him that he wouldn't be able to because he was colour-blind, and suggested that he become a travel agent instead. Undeterred, he went to LSE to study politics, where he found that the emerging evolutionary sciences of human nature provided the perfect framework in which to make sense of the behaviour of 'political animals' like us. Outline of ‘Our place in the world’ Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection provides a scientific explanation for the design of living things, including human bodies and brains. In this talk Daniel will: review Darwin's theory; locate humanity in the great 'tree of life'; explain how evolution could give rise to intelligent creatures with brains; and show how natural selection is being used to shed light on human nature, using examples from contemporary evolutionary psychology.
Professor Janet Radcliffe Richards Janet Radcliffe Richards is Professor of Practical Philosophy at the University of Oxford and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. She originally worked on metaphysics and philosophy of science, but for many years now has concentrated on the practical applications of philosophy, with books on topics such as feminism (The Sceptical Feminist, 1980), discrimination and inequality (Philosophical Problems of Equality, 1996) and the implications of Darwinian theory (Human Nature after Darwin, 2000). She is currently writing a book for Oxford University Press on controversies about organ transplantation, but after that will return to further work on the relevance for moral and political theory of an evolutionary understanding of human nature.
Outline of ‘The implications for ethics and politics’ Many people who accept that human bodies must be understood in terms of evolution by natural selection are unwilling to accept that the same is true of our minds and emotions. Part of this resistance stems from the idea that if evolutionary psychologists are right in their claims about human nature, there are sinister implications for politics and society. There certainly are implications – we must understand human nature if we are to improve our social arrangements – but many people make mistakes in interpreting the new claims about human nature because they have still not fully understood the radical nature of the Darwinian revolution, and are interpreting the Darwinian claims according to pre-Darwinian conceptions of nature. Janet shall illustrate this by discussing the hostility of some feminists to evidence about evolved sex differences in human beings.
Professor Mark van Vugt Mark van Vugt is Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Kent (UK) and at the VU University (Amsterdam). His research programme focuses on key aspects of group processes such as leader-follower dynamics, altruism and cooperation, and intergroup relations. His research is characterized by integrative theorizing and rigorous experimental methodology, combining insights from social psychology with evolutionary psychology and biology. He is an internationally recognized scholar with an excellent publication and grant track record. His research has appeared in all the major journals in Psychology. He is associate editor of the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In addition, he has written several books, including a student course book on Applying Social Psychology (Sage, 2008) and a book on cooperation (Routledge, 2000). He is currently writing a popular science book on leadership, titled "Homo Electus" (Profile, 2010). He is a fellow of the British Academy interdisciplinary research project “From Lucy to Language” and member of the Netherlands Institute for the Advancement of Sciences. His work regularly appears in the popular media. He lives in Canterbury with his partner and son and is a keen football player. Outline of ‘From Darwin to Churchill: Evolution and the Psychology of Leadership and Followership’ In this talk, Mark will analyze the topic of leadership from an evolutionary perspective, and propose five conclusions that are not yet part of the mainstream leadership literature. First, leading and following are evolved strategies for solving social coordination challenges that were prominent in ancestral human environments, most notably pertaining to group movement, teaching,
peacekeeping, and intergroup relations. Second, leadership has been shaped by selection pressures emerging from five distinct evolutionary stages with implications for the scale and social complexity of leadership: (1) simple leaderfollower patterns in social animals for group travel; (2) dominance hierarchies in primates for resource access; (3) egalitarianism in early humans as a basis for collective decision-making; (4) tribalism and war lordism in agricultural societies in response to warfare and inter-group conflict; and (5) modern bureaucratic leadership arrangements in nations and businesses. Third, the move from smallscale to large-scale leadership was made possible by a substantial increase in social brain capacity, underpinned by cognitive mechanisms such as theory of mind, empathy, language, and fairness, which made it possible for leaders to attract thousands and millions of dedicated followers with minimum loss of coordination. Fourth, the relationship between leaders and followers is inherently unstable because there is always the temptation among leaders to exploit followers. Fifth, many modern organizational structures are inconsistent with our evolved leadership psychology, which might explain the alienation and frustration of many citizens and employees.
Dr Richard Webb Question time Chair Richard Webb is an innovation consultant with a special interest in evolution, and is a Research Associate at the London School of Economics. He read zoology at Oxford, where Richard Dawkins was his tutor, before studying mosquitoes at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine for his PhD. He worked for a while in industry on the control of tropical insect-borne diseases such as malaria. He saw that as an arms race against the insects: human ingenuity swiftly countered by the evolution of resistance in the pests. He now works with various organisations on their innovation programmes, to help them gain some of the power of Darwinian evolution for themselves.
Helena Cronin Helena Cronin is at the London School of Economics, where she works on evolutionary theory, and launched and runs Darwin@LSE. However, she started in philosophy (undergraduate, Masters and doctorate). Indeed, it was philosophers' criticisms of Darwinism that roused her initial interest in the science – not because she thought that the philosophers were right but because she concluded that they were profoundly wrong. Therefore, she decamped from the philosophy of science to the science itself. The immediate result was her best-selling book The Ant and the Peacock, which was chosen as one of The New York Times' nine best books of the year (1992). She is now working on an evolutionary understanding of our own species, in particular the light that it can shed on sex differences Outline of keynote ‘Why sex differences matter: An evolutionary perspective’ Why, in science, are men in physics, women in psychology; and, in medicine, men in surgery, women in paediatrics? Why do boys prefer cars, girls prefer dolls? Why do men use maps, women use landmarks? Why are most fatal car crashes committed by men, most parking scrapes by women? And why are all such sex differences universal, cross-culturally and historically? A Darwinian understanding of human nature sheds light on such questions. And the answers will help us to tackle the social problems of today. For, to achieve equity for men and women, a Darwinian perspective is indispensable.
The British Council The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations overseas. The British Council, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2009, works in more than 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. During 2008, the British Council reached over 128 million people worldwide through a range of cultural programmes involving the arts, education, science, sport and governance. Darwin Now is the British Council’s contribution to the international celebration of the 200 year anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150 year anniversary of the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’. Through this international programme of activity the British Council is seeking to engage new audiences, to make Darwin’s theory of evolution relevant to their lives, and to encourage involvement and debate. Darwin Now will look at the impact of Darwin’s ideas and their impact on contemporary biology, medicine and society.
in leading major science communication projects including the redevelopment of the museum’s Earth Galleries and the Darwin Centre. The latter project led to a major innovation in how the museum’s scientific staff engaged in discussions and dialogue about their work and the visiting public. Bob is senior policy developer and strategic manager for initiatives in the field of Science and Society and gave evidence to the 1999 House of Lords Select Committee examining this issue. His interest in the cultural and societal context of science has led to an increasing interest in this role of science within wider culture and engagement of the Arts and Science. Bob was awarded a NESTA Dreamtime Fellowship in 2002 which he used to retrace the first voyage of Captain James Cook – writing a parallel diary of his present day encounters with the voyage locations (www.newendevour.com Wake of the Endevour) A particular interest throughout his work has been looking at the importance of Evolution, and how this axiomatic theory relates to wider perspectives within society. He is currently championing Darwin200, a national programme of events celebrating Charles Darwin’s achievements.
The Natural History Museum The Natural History Museum promotes the discovery, understanding, enjoyment and responsible use of the natural world. The Natural History Museum is a world-class resource for learners. It aims to help people enjoy the natural world and develop their scientific knowledge and understand the impact of science on their lives. www.nhm.ac.uk
The Natural History Museum Darwin and Evolutionary Science International Student Summit team
Dr Jane Mainwaring is a Senior researcher and programme developer in Innovation and Special Projects at the Natural History Museum. She now coordinates the International Student Summit on behalf of the museum in liaison with the British Council. She has a B.Sc in Zoology and a PhD awarded for her study of a family of fossil fishes. She has worked as a secondary school teacher and an education officer at London Zoo before joining the Museum in 1986. Whilst at the museum she has developed distance learning materials for visitors, hands-on interactive exhibits for families, and face to face encounters between visitors and museum scientists. She has researched and developed both art and science exhibitions. Jane championed the Big Draw, coordinating the national launch in 2003 and 2005. She has researched and project managed the Student Summits since 2006.
Dr Bob Bloomfield is Head of Innovation and Special Projects at the Natural History Museum. Bob completed his PhD in genetics before his career in Science and Public Engagement. He joined the museum to pursue his interest in informal learning and interpretative design. This has culminated over the past decade
Nature Live hosting team
Charlotte Coales will be your host at the International Student Summit and is a Nature Live Science Communicator. She always wanted to be either an actress or David Attenborough! Having studied science at A level, she didn’t get very good results and was told to study feet for a career instead! However, she was luckily accepted on a degree course in Ecology and Environmental Biology and then did an MSc in Science Communication. Avoiding feet altogether, Charlotte has volunteered and worked at various places including the BBC Natural History Unit and Natural History New Zealand. She also worked as an explainer at London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, before getting a job at the Natural History Museum. Charlotte loves working at the museum and being surrounded by animals, she just wishes they weren’t all dead!
Aoife Glass is a Nature Live Science Communicator and our roving reporter during the Summit. You’ll see her interviewing speakers and delegates. You’ll see her work in the daily Summit summary shown each morning. Aoife has a passion for rocks, fossils and volcanoes and other things that explode, her background is in geology, and she loves going on fieldwork in the UK and around the world. She finds the Natural History Museum endlessly fascinating – where else can you find out about controlling malaria, to preserving giant squid, to climate change? Nature Live gives her the chance to share her passion and the passion of the scientists here with the general public, and hopefully inspire them too! You will see her, microphone in hand grabbing interviews from speakers and delegates throughout the Summit.
Ivvet Modinu is a Nature Live Science Communicator, and was our Summit host last year. Ana Rita Rodrigues is a Nature Live Science Communicator and studied Chemistry and Physics at university. While studying, she shared her enthusiasm for science by running a branch of the National Youth Science Association and working in Science Centres. After spending time as a science teacher, she did a post-grad course in Science Communication, coordinated DECIDE in Portugal, a Deliberative citizen debate game: wrote a year planner about the science of time, and contributed to a book about training for science communicators. Before coming to the Natural History Museum she worked for the Portuguese National Agency for Scientific Culture, where she managed EU funded collaborations; developed communication projects working closely with the scientific community, science centres and schools and coordinated evaluations.
After graduating with a degree in Geology she went on to work as a field scientist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. After a year of burns and bruises she returned to the UK to take up a place on the MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London. Whilst studying, she worked at a lot of different places so that she could build up her experience; from reporting for the BBC about a 100-year-old lady who uses the internet and writing about bio-fuels to explaining the concept of food chains to 5 year olds and standing on a packed tube platform collecting ‘sounds’. Ivvet joined the Museum over 4 years ago and thoroughly enjoy working with scientists to share their work and enthusiasm with the public through the Nature Live programme.
Quizdom – making your voice heard
Stephen Roberts is the Nature Live Manager. After a degree in marine and environmental biology he worked as a research assistant for five years in Greece before returning to the UK. Communicating science to a wide audience and passing on his passion for the natural world is fun, challenging and exciting – it is something he always finds rewarding. The Natural History Museum is an inspiring place and Stephen has been lucky to work in a variety of teams in his seven years here. He will be in and around the conference hall and will be ready to help with any questions you may have.
When you arrive at the Summit on the 30 June, before you enter the lecture theatre, you will be given a Quizdom handset that you will use to register your vote or opinion on diverse questions during the Summit. You will be assigned a particular numbered Quizdom handset and YOU are responsible for this handset during the 3-day event. Charlotte, your Nature Live host will use some practice questions to familiarise you with using the Quizdom hand set at the beginning of Tuesday, before the talks start. Then during the day you will be asked for your opinion which will be shown immediately on a large screen in the conference hall and we will keep a record of your answers and publish them at the end of the Summit Please ensure that you look after your handset. Do not give it to friends; leave it on chairs etc.. Please return your handset personally at the end of each day to the numbered slot from which you collected it. Lost handsets will need to be replaced at your expense!
How to use your handset Vanessa Barratt is a Nature Live Science Communicator. She studied Zoology and Education in Australia where she worked in outdoor education, a natural history museum and a zoo. Having studied no science for her HSC (equivalent of year 12/13) she had a passion for science but no patience for laboratory or fieldwork. Combining science and communication was the perfect career combination. Starting off in 2000, taking kids on nature walks in the bush near Sydney and most recently fulfilling her dream to work at the Natural History Museum.
Turning on your keypad Press down the ‘Menu’ button for a few seconds and the word ‘Quizdom’ will appear.
Facebook group We have created a Facebook group specifically for those taking part in the Summit.
How to answer questions . . . 2 easy steps
Search for the Facebook (www.facebook.com) group ‘ISS 2009’, or Darwin@britishcouncil.org. Hayley Foulkes the site administrator will confirm you as a member. You have to be registered as a Facebook member to join this group.
1 Select your ALPHABETIC or TRUE/FALSE option etc..
The ISS 2009 is a closed group and has been set up to enable you to get to know each other and share your views. We will also be running a regular poll to capture your opinions on various issues around Darwin
2 Then press the ‘Send Key’ (double arrow button on the left)
If you do not press
then your vote will not register!
NHM Guide book So that you can find your way around the Museum and the exhibitions and inside it you’ll find the Darwin first day cover
In your summit bag you will find Programme A copy of this programme outlining the events that are running throughout the duration of the Summit. Please take a moment to read through the programme and make a note of any special events, such as the group photo on Wednesday morning at 9.30am.
We are putting them in the guide to keep them flat Darwin first day cover To mark Darwin’s bicentenary, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his revolutionary On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, the Royal Mail have issued six special stamps. They’ve created a radical ‘jigsaw’ design for each stamp to demonstrate how the various areas of Darwin’s studies – zoology, botany, geology, ornithology and anthropology – came together to inform his theory of Natural Selection. If the stamps are used on an envelope on the first day they are released then that envelope becomes a first day cover and is very special and collectable.
The Royal Mail has generously donated a first day cover to each of you. Please take it out of your welcome bag and keep it somewhere safe and flat. International Student Summit 2008
Water Bottle Every year until now, we have used over 800 plastic bottles of water during the three-day summit. Students have been concerned at the waste. This year we are doing better by giving each of you all a re-useable water bottle. Please fill it up with water before you come each day, and top up your bottle from the tap water fountains around Flett Lobby. Tree of life poster By the Open University. The History of the World A set of 15 booklets by the Independent newspaper. BBC Focus magazine The BBC has kindly donated their magazine. Focus is the BBC’s science and technology monthly magazine, featuring everything from genetics to geoengineering, astrophysics to archaeology, forensics to futurology. Plus there’s the science behind the latest news, gadget reviews galore and the ever-popular Q&A where experts answer your questions. Check out the website at www.bbcfocusmagazine.com 30
Extra You will also find a pen and notebook, and possibly some extra goodies. The British Council and the Natural History Museum would like to thank everyone who has generously donated items for the summit bags.