Medawar Lecture 2016

We are pleased to announce that speaker for the next Annual Medawar Lecture is Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at LSE and Visiting Professor of Philosophy, at the New College of the Humanities.
Nicholas Humphrey is author of many academic papers and popular science books on the evolution of human intelligence and consciousness and earned several prestigious awards, such as the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, the British Psychological Society’s book award, the Pufendorf Medal and the International Mind and Brain Prize.

For our Medawar event, Nicholas will unfold some of the mysteries regarding the conception of human consciousness, a golden opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss:

The Invention of Consciousness

In English we use the word “invention” in two ways. First, to mean a new device or process developed by experimentation, and designed to fulfill a practical goal. Second, to mean a mental fabrication, especially a falsehood, developed by art, and designed to please or persuade.

In this talk I’ll argue that human consciousness is an invention in both respects. First, it is a cognitive faculty, evolved by natural selection, designed to help us make sense of ourselves and our surroundings. But then, second, it is a fantasy, conjured up by the brain, designed to persuade us of our own metaphysical importance.

This event is free to attend and open to anyone so we encourage you to bring friends and family.
Where: Roberts G06 Sir Ambrose Fleming LT

When: 6pm, 26th of January 2015

After the talk there will be a chance to chat with Nicholas and the rest of the attendees for an informal drinks reception at the venue and a sit-down meal in a local restaurant. If you would like to attend the dinner please send us an email to to reserve your seat.

The London Evolutionary Research Network hope you all have a great Christmas Holidays and a very happy New Year and we look forward to see many of you for the Medawar Lecture in January and for all the exciting events which will be coming up in 2016!


Upcoming: Medawar Memorial Lecture by Dr Robert Asher

Annual LERN/CEE Medawar Memorial Lecture

“Fossil rocks, genes, & journalists: how the public (mis)perceives evolutionary biology”

Dr Robert Asher
(University of Cambridge)

Date: 21st November 2012, 5.45pm

Venue: Anatomy JZ Young Lecture Theatre, UCL (Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT)

A palaeontologist specializing in mammals, Robert J. Asher is a former Curator of Mammals at the Berlin Natural History Museum and Frick Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History. Currently, he is the Curator of Vertebrates in the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge. Among other topics, his research focuses on investigating dental and osteological development in afrotherian and xenarthran mammals, incorporating diverse types of data into mammalian phylogeny reconstruction, and understanding the timing of the first
radiations of modern mammals. Robert Asher is the author of “Evolution and Belief” (Cambridge University Press, April 2012) and one of the editors of the very new “From Clone to Bone: The Synergy of Morphological and Molecular Tools in Palaeobiology” (Cambridge University Press, October 2012).

This event is free and everyone is welcome.

Next Event: LERN/CEE Medawar Memorial Lecture – Matt Ridley

Annual LERN/CEE Medawar Memorial Lecture

‘Genes, Culture and Collective Intelligence’


Matt Ridley

Date: Wednesday 7th December 2011, 6pm

Location: Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, WC1E 6BT [view map]

This event is free and everyone is welcome.

* Click here to download a flyer for this event.

LERN Debate 2010 Video

On 14th September 2010, LERN hosted a debate on epigenetics. The videos for the entire debate are now available to watch online.

Resuscitating Lamarck: Do we need a new evolutionary theory?

The following speakers discussed the motion ‘Epigenetic inheritance compels an extension of the Modern Synthesis’

Eva Jablonka (for)
Professor at the Cohn Institute for the History of Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Troy Day (for)
Professor in Mathematical Biology, Queen’s University, Canada

Vincent Colot (against)
Group Leader at the Unité de Biologie Moléculaire des Organismes Photosynthétiques, Ecole Normale Supérieure, France

Ben Dickins (against)
Postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Comparative Genomics and Bioinformatics, Penn State University, USA