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Endowed with an Extra Sense: Mathematics and Evolution

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Charles Darwin famously remarked “I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics; for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense.” Despite this, the importance of mathematics (and contributions from mathematicians and statisticians from Cambridge in particular) for the development of the modern theory of evolution is largely under-appreciated. In this talk, I will survey the essential contributions mathematics has made to the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis, from the seminal work of J. B. S. Haldane, R. A. Fisher, and Sewall Wright, to John Kingman’s coalescent, to the present.

This talk is part of the The Archimedeans (CU Mathematical Society) series.

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