Evolutionary Theory

If we watch a population of organisms for many generations, we can (almost literally) see them evolve. Nonetheless, the idea that the full complexity of life on earth emerged through natural selection and random processes seems fantastic, and of course generates political controversy.  In a series of symposia, we hope to address the extent to which evolution is becoming a quantitative theory.  We will explore questions ranging from the evolution of simple traits in single celled organisms to the evolution of culture in human societies.

Symposia will begin at 9:15 AM with bagels and coffee, and wrap up by 4:30 PM.  Lunch will be served.  All lectures will be in the Science Center, Room 4102 at the Graduate Center. Events are open to the scientific community, but we ask that you email its@gc.cuny.edu to register, so that we can provide the right amount of food and coffee (!).

Some funds are available to facilitate the participation of students and postdoctoral fellows from around the New York metropolitan area.  Please email its@gc.cuny.edu if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity.

Archive of previous events

Wednesday, 16 November, 2011
A Unified Theory of Evolution
Building an axiomatic theory of evolution
    Sean RiceTexas Tech University
Computability, Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem, and an inherent limit on the predictability of evolution
    Troy DayQueens University 
Background variation and the fate of individual mutations: beyond the driver/passenger dichotomy
    Michael DesaiHarvard University 
The Evolution of Social Complexity 
    Nina FeffermanRutgers University

Wednesday, 19 October, 2011
Conflict and Cooperation, and Cultural Evolution
A theory of biological construction: from multicellularity to eusociality
    Corina Tarnita, Harvard University
Intragenomic conflict and the origin of maladaptive phenotypes
    Jon Wilkins, Ronin Foundation\Santa Fe institute
The economics of cultural transmission
    Alberto Bisin, New York University
The logic of fashion cycles
    Stefano Ghirlanda, Universita' di Bologna/Brooklyn College (CUNY)