An introduction to evolution (new short course)

7.00pm to 8.30pm (every Wednesday), Wednesday 6 May

This event has already taken place

  • Minstrel bugs making inexplicable love

    Credit: Steve Cook, CC-BY-SA-3.0


Standard £200
Members £180

This covers all six sessions.

Event description

The astonishing diversity and apparent design of living things resisted scientific explanation for the majority of human history. The publication of On The Origin of Species in 1859 was a turning point in our understanding of life on earth. In this series of six workshops, led by Dr Steve Cook of Imperial College London, you will explore how evolution has shaped the living world over the past 4 billion years, through processes such as natural selection, mutation, genetic drift, and speciation. We will also be looking at some questions in evolutionary biology that are still actively debated: although the answer might seem obvious to everyone else, biologists still don’t really know why we have sex. 

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” Theodosius Dobzhansky

Timetable (subject to change):
Wed 6 May – Evolution of evolution (history and intro)
Wed 13 May – Lions and tigers and bears (variation, heredity and competition; adaptations)
Tue 19 May – The luck of the draw (importance of contingency; genetic drift; neutral theory)
Wed 27 May – A tree, not a ladder (phylogenetics; fossils; evolution has no long-term goals)
Wed 3 June – The origin of species (speciation; coevolution; endosymbiosis)
Wed 10 June – What we still don’t know (origins of life; the problem of sex; cooperation)


The course costs £200 (£180 Members) for six sessions, including all course materials and refreshments. The course is for interest only, with no qualification, examination, or certificate of attendance at its conclusion.

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