Arrival of the fittest

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Thursday 13 November

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Front of a peacock with his tail feathers

    Peacock at Milwaukee County Zoo 

    Credit: Antigrandiose via Wikipedia


Standard £12

Concession £8

Associate £6

Free to Members, Faraday Members and Fellows

Event description

How do innovations arise in biology? Darwin’s theory of natural selection doesn’t tell us, except that they come about by ‘trial and error’.

Evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner will show how adaptations are not only driven by chance, but rather by a set of fundamental laws that give rise to a world of biological creativity, and to innovations as diverse as animals that fly and plants that harvest energy from sunlight.

Finding where innovations in nature come from begins to place the final puzzle piece in the mystery of life’s rich diversity.

About the speaker

Andreas Wagner is professor in the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich. His main research interest is in the evolution of biological systems, from genomes to complex molecular networks.

Wagner is the author of more than 100 scientific publications and a medal-winning popular science book ‘Paradoxical Life’.


This event will be filmed and available on the Ri Channel soon after the it has finished. Many Ri events are already available to watch.

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