Evolution and art.

From Oct. 9-30, the University of Guelph and Ed Video are hosting a special art exhibit entitled “This View of Life: Evolutionary Art for the Year of Darwin“. It was organized by professors in four departments: Integrative Biology, Philosophy, History, and English and Theatre Studies, and was curated by Scott McGovern of Ed Video. The exhibit features art by 10 artists, all inspired by the themes of evolution, Darwin, and biodiversity. The Gregory Lab contributed some installations as well, which are shown in this brief clip from just before the opening reception on Oct. 16 (about 200 people attended the event). The first window shows live Daphnia magna (“water fleas”) to depict the concept of overproduction; they also are of interest because they reproduce asexually (the evolution of sexual reproduction being an important question in evolutionary theory). The second window presents images created using live colonies of E. coli bacteria. These last only a few days, so many different images will be displayed throughout the exhibit. The third window shows a projection of a remarkable collection of images of bacterial colonies kindly provided by Dr. Eshel Ben-Jacob.

Here are some more photos of the artwork:

[album: http://www.genomicron.evolverzone.com/images/albums/EvolArt/]

Special thanks to everyone involved in organizing the exhibit, to the artists, and to the following graduate students who are talented artists in their own right: Joao Lima, John Wilson, Tyler Elliott, Paola Pierossi, Nick Jeffery.

Evolution art exhibit at the University of Guelph – October 9 to 30

Like many institutions, the University of Guelph is hosting a series of events in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. Two of them, a teachers’ workshop and the Yodzis Colloquium, have already run, but there is another coming up that I am pleased to announce.

This View of Life: Evolutionary Art for the Year of Darwin
University of Guelph and Ed Video
Oct. 9 – 30
Reception Oct. 16, 5:00-7:00pm Science Complex Atrium
Admission is free

Click poster for larger view

‘This View of Life’ showcases the melding of artistic and scientific disciplines in this year of celebration for Charles Darwin. This group exhibition presents recent work from contemporary Canadian artists and features several collaborative projects created with scientists from the University of Guelph.

The investigation of evolutionary theory is not limited to the lab, field or fossil bed. Darwinian theory, after a century and a half, continues to inspire creativity which perpetuates the evolution of these ideas in their own right. Forms of expression can be compared to instruments of observation, magnifying some aspects of evolution while masking or distorting others. Presented by the University of Guelph and Ed Video, these exhibits offer unique perspectives into the nature and scope of biological novelty, organic variation, and evolving life forms.

The reception will feature artwork, biological specimens, and presentations by project participants. Artwork will also be exhibited at the Ed Video Gallery and at various locations on campus for the duration of the show.


  • Mat Brown
  • Jefferson Campbell-Cooper
  • Alison Judd
  • Christy Langer
  • Jean Maddison
  • Allyson Mitchell
  • Jenn E Norton
  • Prof. Burnaby Q. Orbax
  • Kelly Richardson
  • Stephen Wicks

Sponsored by :

  • College of Arts
  • College of Biological Sciences
  • Department of Integrative Biology
  • Department of History
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Ed Video
  • School of Fine Arts and Music
  • School of Environmental Sciences

For more information, visit:

Attention biology teachers from Ontario!

On May 19, the University of Guelph is holding a workshop on evolution education open to teachers from southern Ontario (and elsewhere if you’re willing to travel).

Evolution Education Workshop
May 19, University of Guelph


  • Brian Alters Evolution educator and researcher, McGill University
  • David Campbell Florida high school biology teacher making news on his approach to teaching evolution in US classrooms
  • Eugenie Scott Director, National Center for Science Education, USA
  • David S. Wilson Biologist, author of Evolution for Everyone

There will be interactive question periods as well as the talks. Teachers who present a poster on the teaching of evolution will have their registration refunded, and some programs are in place to help cover leave time to attend this workshop.

Download poster for more details.

Frontiers in Evolution.

These two meetings are coming up in May, one at the University of Guelph and one at McMaster University. If you are in the area, you are welcome and encouraged to register and attend!

The Peter Yodzis Colloquium 2009 – Frontiers in Evolution
May 20-21, University of Guelph


  • David Sloan Wilson (levels of selection)
  • Richard Lenski (experimental evolution)
  • Hans Thewissen (paleontology)
  • Belinda Chang (molecular evolution)
  • Ryan Gregory (genome evolution)
  • Craig Albertson (developmental evolution)

The talks are spread over two days, and on the second day will be a panel discussion. No concurrent talks, only invited speakers, plus a contributed poster session.

Download poster for more details.

Darwin’s Legacy
May 25-29, Origins Institute, McMaster University


  • Mark Rausher (selection)
  • James Valentine (paleontology)
  • Brian Hall (diversity)
  • Christof Koch (cognition)
  • Hopi Hoekstra (speciation and adaptation)
  • Steve Benner (molecular evolution)
  • David Deamer (origins of life)

There will also be other invited and submitted talks as well as a poster session.

Wilkins discussing Darwin myths.

John Wilkins has started a nice series of posts discussing Myths about Darwin (you don’t have to agree with them altogether, but you should read them).

So far

Myth 1: Darwin did not believe in the reality of species

Myth 2: Darwin did not explain the origin of species in The Origin of Species

Myth 3: Darwin was a Lamarckian

Myth 4: Darwin was a gradualist
(See also Sandwalk)

Myth 5: Darwin thought evolution relied on accidents and chance

Happy Darwin Day — Remember, it’s not just about Darwin.

Happy Darwin Day!

By which I mean, Remember one of the greatest scientists who ever lived AND all the accomplishments of the thousands of scientists who have come after him and made modern evolutionary biology the great success that it is.

To me, this is not unlike celebrating nation-founding anniversaries (July 4 in the US, July 1 in Canada, etc.). You’re not just celebrating a single act of signing some document, you’re especially celebrating everything that has come since.

So, enjoy Darwin Day. Give the man his due. But remember that Darwin Day isn’t all about Darwin and it isn’t all about the day. (It isn’t just about Darwin Year, either).

Oh, and don’t forget to get some Darwin Year gear.