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 Symposium Darwin’s legacy

Besides the obvious importance of evolutionary theory for biology, it has become increasingly clear that the theory has a more universal meaning. The importance of evolution for medicine is for example illustrated by an increasing flow of publications on evolutionary medicine. Also, psychological aspects of the human mind and human behavior are explained from the perspective of evolutionary theory, o.a. covered by the field of evolutionary psychology. Also, the field of evolutionary economy is growing. This is a relatively new way of thinking about the economy, with emphasis on complex interactions, competition, growth and limited resources (aspects taken from biology). This approach is a departure from the traditional factors such as scarcity and maximization of utility or profit. These examples show that the theory of evolution has its impact on various sciences.

The Darwin year 2009 was a perfect moment to show the wide impact of Darwin's legacy to the general (scientific) community. Therefore on the 12th of November 2009 I organised a symposium under the title "Darwin's legacy, the influence of evolutionary thinking on science." This free symposium aims at staff and students throughout Utrecht University (the largest university of the Netherlands) and aims to illustrate the evolutionary theory itself and its impact on other areas of science. The audience will consist of c. 500 listeners.

The symposium consisted of four sessions, which covered various areas of science (biology, evolutionary psychology, evolutionary economics and evolutionary medicine). Per session three speakers were invited, of which at least one is international leader in his field.



Prof. Menno Schilthuizen (University of Groningen/Naturalis), Prof. Jelle Reumer (Utrecht University), Prof. Rolf Hoekstra (Wageningen University), Prof. Robin Dunbar (Oxford University), Dr. Thomas Pollet (Groningen University), Dr. Liesbeth Sterck (Utrecht University), Prof. Giovanni Dosi (Sant'Anna School of Adv. Studies, Pisa), Prof. Ron Boschma (Utrecht University), Prof. Jeroen van den Bergh (University of Amsterdam), Prof. Jacob Koella (Imperial College London), Prof. Rudi Westendorp (Leiden University Medical Centre), Prof. Frits Muskiet (University Medical Center Groningen), Prof. Michael Ruse (Florida State University)