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UCL events news and reviews


Nick Lane: Is complex life a freak accident?

By George Wigmore, on 31 January 2012

“In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.”

While the above Douglas Adams quote may aptly describe the prevailing universal sentiment, we still continue to search the skies with SETI for any signs of complex life.

In the 50 years of searching, SETI has turned up nothing, yet the question still remains as to whether complex life itself is a freak accident, or an event that could have occurred somewhere else in our universe.

It was this question that Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment) and author of Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution, aimed to answer in the 35 brief minutes that he had to contextualise, and explain the background to an incredibly difficult question that is still hotly debated.


Cementing the place of evolution at UCL

By Katherine Aitchison, on 2 November 2011

In April 2011 the geographic split that has divided the UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment (GEE) for many years was brought to an end when approximately 90 academic staff, students and support staff moved from Wolfson House to the newly refurbished Darwin Building on Gower Street. The move brought them together with the UCL Genetics Institute (UGI) which is to become a hub for statistical genetic and bioinformatics research.

Yesterday marked the completion of this £5.5 million project when the Darwin Building was officially reopened by the UCL Provost. The event included a mini-symposium entitled “What can evolution tell us about today?” before Professor Steve Jones invited the Provost to cut the ribbon and declare the building open for business.

Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost, UCL, cuts the ribbon to re-open the Darwin Building