2009 Discovery Lecture An Evolution Doubleheader

Wednesday, February 4 - 7:30 p.m.

Kailash Mital Theatre, Southam Hall,
Carleton University

This is an open public lecture, with free admission.
Free parking in Lot 1 and Library garage.


Darwinian evolution: From conception to misconception

The idea of evolution through natural selection is often misunderstood. Dr. Simons will discuss causes of popular misconceptions about evolution and illustrate with examples, including those about what Charles Darwin believed, to those about genetic determination, to those about how well “designed” we should expect organisms to be.


Evolution and its causes

Dr. Goodnight will take us through a journey of the four forces of evolution: selection, drift, migration and mutation. He will illustrate how inheritance can include complex genetic interactions, or non-genetic factors such as culture; and why selection can occur at nearly any level of organization. 

About Dr. Andrew M. Simons, Associate Professor, Carleton University

Andrew Simons is an evolutionary biologist at Carleton University.  The primary research focus of the Simons lab is on how organisms evolve in response to environments that are continually changing.  Most recently, he has been asking whether risk aversion, or “bet-hedging” strategies can evolve through natural selection.  In addition to publishing extensively in the primary scientific literature, Andrew has enjoyed contributing to public understanding of science through venues such as Scientific American’s “Ask the Experts”, CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, New Scientist, and Discover Magazine.  After a three-year adventure in Music Performance at McGill, Dr. Simons obtained an M.Sc. in Biology at McGill (1993), a Ph.D. at Dalhousie (1999), and conducted post-doctoral research at North Carolina State University (1999) before joining Carleton (2000).  Andrew has lived in Ottawa since 2000 with his wife Martha and their two children.

About Dr. Charles Goodnight, Professor of Biology, University of Vermont

The son of biologists Clarence and Marie Goodnight, Charles Goodnight spent much of his youth traveling throughout the Americas collecting arachnids with his parents. He received his Bachelors degree in botany and zoology from the University of Michigan in 1977, and his Masters

(1979) and Ph.D. (1983) from the University of Chicago under the direction of Michael Wade. His thesis had two parts, one was an experimental study of group and individual selection in the cress Arabidopsis thaliana, and the second, a theoretical study of the effects of genetic bottlenecks and gene interaction on genetic variance. After completing his Ph.D. Dr. Goodnight did postdoctoral research examining selection in two species communities of Tribolium flour beetles. This work was done with David Mertz at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Goodnight moved to the University of Vermont in 1989, where he is now a Full Professor. Dr. Goodnight’s continues to do research on multilevel selection and complex genetic systems.