Register here by 11 August 2021
Andreas Wagner professor of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich, External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute for the study of Complex Systems and STIAS fellow will present a webinar with the title:
Sleeping beauties: Dormant innovations in nature and culture
Innovations in biological evolution and in human culture – from science to the arts – arise by processes with multiple parallels. One of them is that many innovations originate as ‘sleeping beauties’, creative products that are not successful when they first emerge. They become successful only after a long period of dormancy, and then often dramatically so. I will discuss multiple and diverse examples from biology that range from the evolution of grasses to the emergence of new antibiotic resistance and the origin of new genes. I will also discuss examples from science and technology, such as the invention of the cardiac pacemaker and the discovery of radar. These examples will illustrate that an innovation’s innate quality may not suffice to ensure success in the natural world or in a marketplace. They will highlight the crucial role of the environment for an innovation’s success, including abiotic factors and other organisms for biological innovations, as well as social, political, and cultural factors for cultural innovations. Taken together, these examples may also harbor lessons for human innovators who are faced with a lack of success of their own creative products.
Andreas Wagner is professor of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute for the study of Complex Systems. His main research interests revolve around the question how biological evolution brings forth innovations – new traits that help life survive. Wagner has authored more than 200 scientific publications in journals that include Nature, Science, and PNAS, as well as five books, including the award-winning book “Paradoxical Life”, and “Arrival of the Fittest.” Wagner received his Ph.D in 1995 at Yale University, where his research won the J.S. Nicholas prize for best dissertation in his field. He has lectured widely worldwide, and held research fellowships at several institutions, such as the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin, Germany, and the Institut des Hautes Etudes in Bures-sur-Yvette, France. Wagner is an elected member of the EMBO, an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and a foreign associate of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. An Austrian born U.S. citizen, he lives with his wife and their son in Zurich, Switzerland.
For more information, contact Ms Nel-Mari Loock at 021 808 2652 or [email protected]