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The Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.
At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.
Join us for BSc, MSc, and PhD study.
Staff books include:
Thinking About Science: Episode 4
8 November 2012
The Evolution of Biological Complexity with Nick Lane
Interview Date: November 1st 2012
The fourth episode of "Thinking About Science" is now available for download on the STS website. In this episode, Emma Tobin and Brendan Clarke talk with Nick Lane about the evolution of biological complexity. Can we ever know the truth about how complex life emerged? For Nick Lane, evolutionary biochemistry is like historical reconstruction: "The best we can aspire to is that in principle it could have worked that way and we can eliminate certain ways that it could not have worked". Nick thinks scientists should think about first principles and he rejects traditional boundaries between disciplines. Thus, for him Evolutionary Biochemistry is in certain respects "a form of philosophy"!
The conversation touches on many fascinating topics including: the great oxidation event, snowball earth, bioenergetics, and the role of context and symbiosis in the evolution of eukaryotic cells from prokaryotic cells.
The role of scientific method is also discussed: competing theories, hypothesis generation, falsification and why Popper was a little bit right, but also a little bit naive. Nick also explains why in his opinion it is ok for scientists to change their mind over time, and much more!
Interviewed by Dr Emma Tobin, and Dr Brendan Clarke UCL STS
Recorded at Science and Technology Studies, UCL by Jo Pearson
Interview Date: 1st November 2012
Music: Andantino in A flat by JN Hummel, recorded by Jo Pearson
Page last modified on 08 nov 12 15:13 by Jo E Pearson
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