Emory University

A public symposium at Emory University

Thursday, October 23 and Friday, October 24, 2008

Evolution Revolution: Science Changing Life

Evolving Arts: New Works Festival: February 1–28

Presentations based on Emory's "Evolution Revolution: Science Changing Life" symposium. Sponsored by the Emory College of Arts and Sciences Center for Creativity & Arts, which is supported in part by the Emory University Strategic Initiative for Creativity & Arts.


Lectures from the symposium are available. The videos require the RealPlayer application to view the video. Download RealPlayer at www.real.com.

VIDEO: Frans deWaal introducing E. O. Wilson (Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008)

VIDEO: E. O. Wilson’s keynote address (Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008)

VIDEO: Audience Q and A with E. O. Wilson (Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008)

VIDEO: David Lynn giving Symposium to audience (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

AUDIO: Olivia Judson Lecture, audio only (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

AUDIO: Audience Q and A with Olivia Judson (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

Panel: "How Can We Optimize Our Evolutionary Inheritance?"

What is the greatest influence on human health—nature or nurture? New research demonstrates that this is a dated dichotomy obscuring the mutual interaction between genes and environment. Genes, we are learning, are dynamically related in their operation to cues from the environment. How does new research on this exchange between genes and environments suggest ways to optimize our health individually as well as across generations and populations?

VIDEO: Panel Introduction by Melvin J. Konner (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

VIDEO: Evolution and Our Public Health talk by Leslie A. Real (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

Leslie Real looks at how evolutionary principles illuminate the rise of new diseases—such as HIV, Ebola, and SARs—and the drug resistance of more familiar diseases—such as TB and malaria. Encouragingly, these same principles provide a guide to protecting our global health.

VIDEO: Introduction by Melvin J. Konner (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

VIDEO: "Our Evolutionary Inheritance: Prenatal Growth, Adult Health" talk by Michelle Lampl (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

Michelle Lampl probes the dynamic of genes and environment as it relates to children’s growth and their lifelong and inter-generational health.

VIDEO: Introduction by Melvin J. Konner (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

VIDEO: "Not By Genes Alone: Evolution and Nurture" talk by Carol Worthman (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

Carol Worthman explains the nature-nurture matrix and how it helps us to understand which human variations are normal and which may be the result of societal disparities.

VIDEO: Panel Q and A (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

Panel: "Can We Engineer New Life?"

We speak of the “miracle of life” in appreciation of its wondrous nature and also because its origin remains a mystery. Considering that mystery, Darwin suggested in a letter in 1871 that life may have arisen “in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, &C. present.” Today, researchers are making progress toward understanding that “&C”—the chemical origins and processes that led to the emergence of life. The application of this research has enormous potential to enhance existing life forms and engineer new ones. Examples would include biofactories that produce new drugs, create energy sources, and consume pollution, as well as the fabrication of tissues and organs that may transform healthcare and even our experience of being human.

VIDEO: Introduction by Robert R. Nerem (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

VIDEO: Talk by Nicholas Hud (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

VIDEO: Talk by David Lynn (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

Nicholas Hud and David Lynn are heading a National Science Foundation-sponsored effort to advance an understanding of how life began and provide insight into a variety of ways that life could emerge and evolve in different environments.

VIDEO: Talk by Ichiro Matsumura (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

Ichiro Matsumura studies the evolutionary capacities of proteins, a fundamental component of all living cells, and the possibilities of directing their evolution at the most basic biochemical level.

VIDEO: Panel Q and A (Friday, Oct. 24, 2008)

The Symposium

The symposium explored the future of evolution as a theory and a process and the potential of recent research to transform our lives. With some of the world’s leading scientists, the symposium explored how our evolutionary inheritance affects our emotions, values, and mental makeup; how the interaction between genes and environment influences our health; and how research into the origins of life is providing new knowledge and tools to “engineer” evolutionary processes to the point of enhancing existing life forms and possibly creating new ones.

This symposium anticipates the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Darwin on February 12, 2009 and the 150th anniversary in 2009 of the publication of the first edition of On the Origin of Species.