Ned Friedman addresses the Passion for Knowledge festival (video)

by Jon Hetman, Director of External Relations & Communications
October 4, 2019

Ned Friedman at P4K

Ned Friedman addresses the Passion for Knowledge festival (video)

Ned Friedman at P4K

Arnold Arboretum Director William (Ned) Friedman addresses the Passion for Knowledge festival in the Victoria Eugenia Theatre in San Sebastián, Spain, October 3, 2019.

William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum and Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, is among the featured guests and plenary lecturers at The Passion for Knowledge (P4K) festival in San Sebastián, Spain. Professor Friedman delivered a lecture entitled “Who dicovered evolution” at the collective celebration of learning and curiosity, currently in its fourth year. Held from from September 30 to October 5, the festival also features coordinated activities in the cities of Bilbao and Pamplona. P4K is organised by Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), a research centre with headquarters in San Sebastián.

The P4K festival is a large-scale event featuring many prestigious researchers behind some of the most important scientifc discoveries of recent years. The talks held are being offered in the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Baluarte Conference Centre, and are open to the general public, allowing anyone interested in science to continue learning alongside Nobel Laureates and world-class experts.

View Ned’s talk, “Who discovered evolution?” and see the abstract below. Free registration is also available to access live streaming of festival content here.

Who discovered evolution?

Abstract: Charles Darwin is the obvious answer to this seemingly simple question. But, a careful reading of the record shows that roughly 70 different individuals published papers or even whole books on the topic of evolution before Darwin first did so. Between 1748 and 1859, the year that Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published, evolutionary ideas were emerging across Europe and the United States. These early evolutionary thinkers, now almost entirely forgotten, included biologists, geologists, horticulturists, physicians, clergymen, atheists, philosophers, high school teachers, and poets. Professor Friedman will introduce some of the cast of pre-Darwinian evolutionists. In doing so, he will examine the nature of scientific discovery and attribution. What does it mean to “discover” or to have an “idea” in the sciences? And is Charles Darwin, the seventy-first evolutionist, deserving of historical credit for being the person who brought forth an evolutionary view of the world.

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