News Release: Events, Student Life, Teaching, University News

Nov. 9,  2009

Emory Evolution Conference Celebrates Darwin's Legacy

News Article ImageCharles Darwin

From eScienceCommons

Nine of the world's leading scholars of evolution will gather at Emory University for the Evolution of Brain, Mind and Culture conference Nov. 12-13. The free, public event — held in honor of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth — will give an overview of the latest discoveries in biological, cognitive and cultural studies of evolution.

"We are taking the conceptual and theoretical tools that Darwin gave us and putting them in the midst of contemporary thought and controversies," says Robert McCauley, director of the Emory Center for Mind, Brain and Culture, which is hosting the event. "We're taking a forward look at Darwin's legacy."

Some of the questions the conference is expected to tackle, include: What is it that makes the human brain different from the brain of our closest relative, the chimpanzee, besides the larger size? How does growing from a child into an adult shape the evolution of our minds? What are the origins of empathy, fairness and cooperation? What constitutes culture in humans and other species, and how far back can we trace it? 

Award-winning British science writer Matt Ridley, author of "Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code" and "Nature via Nurture," will give the keynote, entitled "Darwin in Genes and Culture."

The conference runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, in the third floor Reception Hall of the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory campus. A reception will conclude the event on Friday, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Great Hearth of the Emory Conference Center.

Panel discussions will include Emory luminaries, such as primatologist Frans de Waal, and other internationally known scholars, including Richard Passingham, a psychologist from the University of Oxford, and Joe Henrich, a psychologist and economist from the University of British Columbia.

For more details, visit the Emory College Center for Mind, Brain and Culture.

For more news of the natural and social sciences at Emory, visit eScienceCommons.

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