KeynoteEvent: Public Debate on Complexity and Evolution

Keynote Discussion video, audio and photos now available: click here.
The video is available as a torrent for download. To download, you will need Azureus, BitTorrent, or similar.

"The Daily Telegraph" article by Steve Jones about GECCO Keynote Discussion: click here

New Scientist reporter Paul Marks has written an article about the Keynote: click here

Keynote Event: Public Debate on Complexity and Evolution
                    with Richard Dawkins, Lewis Wolpert and Steve Jones

Natural History Museum
Monday evening, 9 July 2007, Central Hall, Natural History Museum.

The Debate is supported by



We are pleased to announce that Professors Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones and Lewis Wolpert will take part in a public debate, discussing the emergence of complexity in evolution.
Debate Format

The debate will follow the format of the popular BBC television show " Question Time". Every member of the audience will be asked to write down their questions relating to evolution and complexity in advance. A selection of representative questions will then be chosen, and during the debate the authors of each one will be invited to stand up and put their question to the panel. The audience will also be given an opportunity to respond to the discussion to help stimulate an even more lively debate.

Each GECCO delegate will be able to provide their question using the on-line registration system (and they may modify it at any time later).

We are hoping to explore some of the important and meaningful questions to do with evolution. The choice is up to you, but examples of interesting questions might be:

"Are humans still evolving, and if so is the selection pressure caused more by cultural or monetary factors than disease or predation?", or " Do you believe horizontal gene transfer has affected the course of evolution as much as vertical gene transfer?" or, " Did the evolution of complex life require development, or did development require the evolution of complex life?" or, " Do you believe we will ever evolve something with a computer that could be called alive?" Everyone is encouraged to think carefully of their own question, which should be a single sentence, not a speech. We prefer not to have questions relating to religion.

The interior of the Natural History Museum. The debate will take place here.

Our three speakers are extremely well-known in their fields. Richard Dawkins is famous for his work in evolutionary biology and his best-selling books such as "The Selfish Gene", "The Blind Watchmaker" and "River Out of Eden". Steve Jones is well-known for his work in genetics, and his best-selling books which include, "Almost Like a Whale", "Y: the Descent of Man" and "The Language of the Genes". Lewis Wolpert is a pioneer in the field of developmental biology and known for his books "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief" and "Principles of Development."

This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear and interact with some of the most famous names in evolutionary biology.


Each GECCO registered attendee will receive one ticket with their registration packet. Additional tickets up to the maximum capacity of the venue may be available for sale. The conference registration desk will have a waiting list for available tickets. Individuals must sign up for the waiting list in person. Available tickets, if there are any, will be sold in the order of the list, during the lunch period on Monday, July 9. No tickets will be sold after the lunch period. The conference registration desk will be located in the South Cloisters at the UCL Gower Street Campus.


The Central Hall at the world-famous Natural History Museum will be a stunning backdrop for our Keynote Debate: soaring arches, a dramatic staircase, frescoes, sculptures, and a cast of a Diplodocus dinosaur.

Please visit the Museum before the debate (entry is free!). GECCO sessions will end early on Monday to allow you time to enjoy the Museum and have dinner before the debate. Visit for more information.


Here are directions from the UCL meeting rooms to the Natural History Museum

For interactive details and maps of how to reach the museum from UCL, click here:

The London Underground ("the tube")

Tickets: You must buy a ticket before you travel - the fastest method is to bring plenty of change and use a ticket machine at the station. Purchase either an off-peak travel card (cheapest), or a zone 1 return, cost is between £5 and £8.


Walk to Russell Square underground station,
Get the Picadilly Line train towards Ruislip / Heathrow / Uxbridge / Rayners Lane
Get off at South Kensington station.
When you exit the ticket gates, immediately turn right and walk along the pedestrian subway, past the buskers playing music, and follow the signs to the Natural History Museum.
Allow 30 minutes for the journey.

OR (shorter walk, harder trains):

Walk to Warren Street station, take the Victoria Line towards Brixton.
Get off at Victoria and change to a Circle or District Line train towards High St Kensington / Ealing Broadway / Wimbledon / Richmond.
Get off at South Kensington station.
When you exit the ticket gates, immediately turn right and walk along the pedestrian subway, past the buskers playing music, and follow the signs to the Natural History Museum.
Allow 40 minutes for the journey.


You will be able to flag a taxi on Gower Street. London taxis are distinctive-looking "Black cabs." Fare costs between £10 and £20 depending on the traffic; it is traditional to tip the driver an extra pound or two on top of the fare. Allow 30 minutes for the journey - traffic may be bad.


Tickets: You must buy a ticket before boarding the bus. Take plenty of change and use the machine at the bus stop. Buy a 1 day bus pass, cost around £3.50 The pass will be valid for your return journey as well.


There are bus stops on Warren Street, outside Warren Street Underground station. Take bus number 14 (Warren Street to South Kensington). Follow the signs to the Natural History Museum. Allow 35 minutes for the journey.

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GECCO "Job Shop"
GECCO will host a special Monday lunchtime session for participants looking for positions in academia or in industry, and for employers looking to hire. Bring copies of your resume, publications, and job descriptions and show up for brief 1-on-1 meetings on the 6th floor Malet Place (room 6.12a and 6.25) on Monday 12:30pm-2pm. No advance scheduling required.

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