All future 2014 events

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School Seminar Series: Information and causation in living systems   View Summary
1 August 2014

Paul Griffiths
Professorial Research Fellow, Associate Director (Humanities and Social Sciences) Charles Perkins Centre, Department of Philosophy, The University of Sydney

Seminar title: Information and causation in living systems

Paul Griffiths
Paul Griffiths

The source of order in living systems has been the key question at the boundary of biology and philosophy since the eighteenth century. Today it is widely believed that living systems differ from non-living because they are driven by information, much of which has accumulated during evolution, and much of which is transmitted from one cell to another via genome replication. But there is at present no specifically biological measure of information that can underpin this vision. It describe our attempt to fill this gap in the scientific worldview by grounding the idea of biological information in contemporary philosophical work on the nature of causation.

Murray Lecture   View Summary
24 September 2014

Wildlife Wars

Professor Justin O'Riain(Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town)delivers the 2014 Murray lecture. This free lecture is co-presented by the School of Biological Sciences and Sydney Ideas.

Dingoes are shot for eating our sheep; sharks and crocodiles are 'culled' for chewing on humans. All around us people are in conflict with nature.

When humans are either on the menu, or being forced to share it, our invariably irrational response reveals our recent evolutionary history as both a food source and a fearsome competitor.

It is within this framework that Professor Justin O'Riain explores the widespread conflict between humans and wildlife species that are adjusting to life in the anthropocene, the current geological epoch that acknowledges the impact of humans on Earth.With reference to recent research on species as different as baboons and white sharks, O'Riain uses his training as a behavioural ecologist to explore the drivers of the human-wildlife conflict. In the search for possible solutions we are forced to grapple with the uncomfortable contradiction between current conservation efforts and our determined march towards global economic security.

Professor Justin O'Riainis a behavioural ecologist who has worked on a wide variety of southern African wildlife species including mole-rats, porcupines, meerkats, wild dog, baboons, lions, leopards, jackals, seals and white sharks. Although his early interests were on how the natural environment shapes the behaviour and lifestyle of such species it soon became evident that it was impossible to ignore the enormous impacts of humans on all aspects of wildlife - from the individual to the ecosystem. The importance of translating such science into wildlife management policy has demanded that O'Riain face his own fears - using logic and evidence based arguments to convince politicians to manage for a future that is longer than an election term.

Please join us for a cocktail reception with interactive displays in the foyer after the lecture. All are welcome to attend.

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