NILES ELDREDGE (Templeton Project Leader)

ELDREDGENiles Eldredge has been a paleontologist on the curatorial staff of the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1969. Now he is Emeritus Curator in the Division of  Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. His specialty is the evolution of trilobites—a group of extinct arthropods that lived between 535 and 245 million years ago. Throughout his career, he has used repeated patterns in the history of life to refine ideas on how the evolutionary process actually works. The theory of “punctuated equilibria,” developed with Stephen Jay Gould in 1972, was an early milestone. Eldredge went on to develop a hierarchical vision of evolutionary and ecological systems, and in his book The Pattern of Evolution (1999) he unfolds a comprehensive theory (the “sloshing bucket”) that specifies in detail how environmental change governs the evolutionary process. Eldredge was Curator-in-Chief of the American Museum’s Hall of Biodiversity (May, 1998), and has written several books on the subject—most recently (1998) Life in the Balance. He has also combated the creationist movement through lectures, articles and books—including The Triumph of Evolution…And The Failure of Creationism (2000). An amateur jazz trumpeter and avid collector of 19th century cornets, Eldredge has turned his evolutionary approach to cornet history—and to the comparison of patterns and processes of material cultural and biological evolution. A critic of gene-centered theories of evolution, Eldredge’s Why We Do It  (2004) presents an alternative account to the gene-based notions of “evolutionary psychology” to explain why human beings behave as they do.

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TELMO PIEVANI (Templeton Project Leader)

PIEVANI(1970) is Associate Professor at the Department of Biology, University of Padua, where he covers the first Italian chair of Philosophy of Biological Sciences. He also teaches Anthropology. Graduated in Philosophy of Science at the University of Milan, researcher in the field of Philosophy of Biology, after Ph.D. researches in USA, he has been Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Milan Bicocca (2001-2012). He is author of 142 publications, included several books: Homo sapiens and Other Catastrophes(Meltemi, Rome, 2002; new edition 2006); Introduction to Philosophy of Biology (Laterza, Rome-Bari, 2005; Portuguese edition 2010); The Theory of Evolution (Il Mulino, Bologna, 2006, new edition 2010); Creation without God (Einaudi, Turin, 2006; Spanish edition 2009); In Defence of Darwin (Bompiani, Milan, 2007); Born to Believe (Codice Edizioni, Turin, 2008, with V. Girotto and G. Vallortigara); The Unexpected Life (Cortina Editore, Milan, 2011); Homo sapiens. The Great History of Human Diversity (Codice Edizioni, Turin, 2011, with L.L. Cavalli Sforza), Introduction to Darwin (Laterza, Rome-Bari, 2012); The End of the World (Il Mulino, Bologna, 2012), Anatomy of a Revolution. The Logic of Scientific Discovery in Darwin (Mimesis, Sesto San Giovanni, 2013); Evolved and Abandoned. Sex, Politics, Morals: does Darwin Explain Everything? (Einaudi, Turin 2014).

He is Fellow of Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Class of Sciences, Venice; Turin Academy of Sciences, Class of Biological Sciences; Italian Society of Evolutionary Biology; “Umberto Veronesi” Foundation for the progress of sciences, Milan; Istituto Italiano di Antropologia, Steering Board, Rome. He is member of the editorial board of Evolution: Education and Outreach (Springer), Evolutionary Biology (Springer), Rend. Lincei Sc. Fis. Nat., and Le Scienze, Italian edition of Scientific American.

Engaged in several projects regarding communication of science in Italy (i.e. with Luigi Luca Cavalli Sforza, Curator of the International exhibition Homo sapiens. The Great History of Human Diversity) he is fellow of the Scientific Board of Genoa Science Festival (Secretariat, 2003-2010). He is Director of Pikaia, the Italian website dedicated to evolution and philosophy of biology.

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 DANIEL R. BROOKS (to be included)



Silvia Caianiello is Senior Researcher at the “Istituto per la Storia del Pensiero Filosofico e Scientifico Moderno” (ISPF) of the Italian National Research Council (C.N.R.) in Naples.
Her research interests and experiences range from History of European Philosophy to History and Philosophy of Life Sciences. She conducted extensive research on the correlation between representations of time and epistemological approaches to history from XVIII to XX Century (Scienza e tempo alle origini dello storicismo tedesco, Napoli, Liguori, 2005), and authored several papers on the interactions between Human and Life Sciences in the XIX Century (“Corpi biologici e corpi sociali: il caso della divisione del lavoro”, ISPF-LAB III, 2006; “Collettività ed individuo nell’Ottocento: il ruolo della teoria cellulare”, in “Giornale Critico della Filosofia Italiana”, 2003). Currently her main research field is in History and Epistemology of Life Sciences, with particular focus on Evolutionary Theory and Evo-Devo ( “L’interno della selezione”, in Confini aperti in biologia, a cura di B. Continenza et al., Milano, 2013: “Les modules de la variation. L’évo-dévo ou la nouvelle genèse des formes”, in «Critique» 2011; “Adaptive vs Epigenetic Landscape. A Visual Chapter in the History of Evolution and Development”, in Graphing Genes, Cells and Embryos: Cultures of Seeing 3D and Beyond, ed. by S. Brauckmann et. al, Max Planck Institute Pre-Print Series, 2009).
From 2001 to 2007 she taught courses on “History of science” and “Philosophy of Science” at the Second University of Naples, Faculty of Psychology. In 2007/2008 she was Visiting Scholar at the “Max Planck Institute for History of Science” in Berlin, Germany. She is member of ISPHSSB, and associated to “Res viva” (Italian Interuniversity Research Centre on Epistemology and History of Life Sciences).



CANADELLIElena Canadelli is a senior postdoctoral Research Fellow in History of Science at the University of Padova (Dep. of Biology). She is the author of «Più positivo dei positivisti». Antropologia, psicologia, evoluzionismo in Tito Vignoli (Ets, Pisa, 2013), Icone organiche. Estetica della natura in Karl Blossfeldt ed Ernst Haeckel (Mimesis, Milano, 2006) and, together with S. Locati, Evolution. Darwin e il cinema (Le Mani, Recco, 2009), as well as a number of articles and book chapters on topics in the history of scientific museums, Italian evolutionism and relationship between biology and popular culture. She edited Milano scientifica 1875-1924 (Sironi, Milano, 2008), together with P. Zocchi. She is Associate Editor and member of the editorial board of the journal Nuncius. Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science. In 2009, she held a Ph.D. in History of Science from the University of Pisa. She collaborated with the International Research Network History of Scientific Objects, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Currently, her studies focus on the history of anthropological and zoological collections of the University of Padua and the landscapes of evolutionary biology in Italy (1909-1959). Her current projects include also a book about the use of images in science.

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Stefano Dominici is a paleontologist, with a PhD in geology, on the curatorial staff of the Natural History Museum of the University of Florence. He specialised in the ecology and evolution of Cenozoic molluscs by studying their excellent fossil record, preserved in shell beds of his home region, Tuscany, and throughout Europe, from Veneto to the Paris Basin. He focused on the macroevolution of shallow marine ecosystems, during the last 50 million years under the control of deep climatic change, with varying, scale-dependent responses. Additionally, he seeks primary literature to trace the birth of evolutionary thinking in the 18th and 19th centuries, with an interest in the role played by the comparison of fossil and modern shells in shaping our understanding of the birth and death of species. He has chaired sessions at international meetings, and hosted the conference “Deep Time: from Steno to Darwin”, for the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth.

Featured papers: Depositional dynamics and the record of ecosystem stability, on the mollusc record of ecosystem stability; Foraminifer communities and environmental change in marginal marine sequences (Pliocene, Tuscany, Italy)On the foraminifer record of ecosystem stability; Brocchi, Darwin, and Transmutation, on the birth of evolutionary biology.

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GREGORYDr. Gregory completed his B.Sc. (Hons) at McMaster University in 1997 and earned his Ph.D. in evolutionary biology and zoology from the University of Guelph in 2002. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Gregory carried out postdoctoral research at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Natural History Museum in London, England, before returning to join the faculty at the University of Guelph. His primary research interests include large-scale genome evolution, biodiversity, and macroevolution. He has been the recipient of several prestigious scholarships, fellowships, and awards, including the 2003 NSERC Howard Alper Postdoctoral Prize as “Canada’s most outstanding postdoctoral fellow in the natural sciences or engineering”, a 2005 McMaster Alumni Association Arch Award, a 2006 American Society of Naturalists Young Investigator Prize, the 2007 Canadian Society of Zoologists Bob Boutilier New Investigator Award, and the 2010 Genetics Society of Canada Robert H. Haynes Young Scientist Award. He also received a 2008 University of Guelph Faculty Association Distinguished Professor Award for his teaching. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach

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LIEBERMANMy research uses the fossil record of arthropods, especially trilobites, but also other taxa including mollusks, to reconstruct evolutionary patterns in order to gain insight into the nature of the evolutionary process. I am particularly interested in research approaches that use biogeography, phylogenetics, and ecological niche modeling. I have also considered various topics in macroevolutionary theory including levels of selection, punctuated equilibria and mechanisms of stasis, evolutionary
and adaptive radiations, the role abiotic as opposed to biotic factors play in governing macroevolution, and the effects of past, present, and future climate change on ecology and evolution. In addition, my research focuses on macroevolutionary patterns and processes during key episodes in the history of life such as the Cambrian radiation, the end Ordovician mass extinction, and the Late Devonian biodiversity crisis.

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PARRAVICINIAndrea Parravicini is a postdoctoral Research Fellow in Philosophy of Biology at the Department of Biology of the University of Padua. He is the author of Darwin’s Mind. Philosophy and Evolution (Negretto Editore, Mantova 2009) and Thought in evolution. Chauncey Wright between Darwinism and Pragmatism (ETS, Pisa 2012), as well as some articles and book chapters on topics in the philosophy and history of evolutionary biology and in the history of American thought, in particular the so called American Pragmatism. He is a member of the editorial board of the online journal of philosophy Noema – Rivista online di Filosofia. He is a member of the Cultural Association Pragma for the study of the American pragmatism and he collaborates with the Interuniversity Research Center Pragmatism, construction of knowledge and training. During his Ph.D. at the University of Milan, Dr. Parravicini conducted his research on Charles Darwin’s thought, on the history of evolutionary theory and its philosophical relationships with the origin of the American Pragmatism’s philosophy. Currently, his studies focus on the conceptual framework and the historical arrangement of the hierarchical perspective in the evolutionary theory.



SEPKOSKIDavid Sepkoski is a senior Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.  He is the author of Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline (University of Chicago Press, 2012) and co-editor (with Michael Ruse) of The Paleobiological Revolution: Essays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology (Chicago, 2009), as well as a number of articles and book chapters on topics in the history of evolutionary biology and paleontology. His current projects include a book about the cultural history of theories about extinction, and a study of the history of databases and data analysis in the natural historical sciences. He is also co-organizer of the Max Planck Institute working group “Historicizing Big Data”, and co-editor of a 2017 volume of Osiris on “Histories of Data.”

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SERRELLIEmanuele Serrelli is Postdoc Research Fellow in Philosophy of Science at the “Riccardo Massa” Department of Human Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca. His main research fields are Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Biology, and Evolutionary Theory, with additional interests in Interdisciplinarity, and in Models and Modeling in various fields, including Cultural Diversity and Evolution. Hierarchy theory is the organizing principle of his view of evolution. His works span adaptation, speciation, niche construction, population genetics, paleontology, and cultural evolution, with an approach close to scientific practice, sometimes reaching very general issues such as “explanation” and “model” notions in science. He was visiting scholar at the Department of Philosophy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City (2010), and visiting fellow at the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, University of Sydney, Australia (2012), at the Lisbon Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab, Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon (2013) and at NESCent – National Center for Evolutionary Synthesis, Duke University, Durham, NC (2014). He performs several academic services as a referee, symposia organizer, and member of scientific societies and editorial boards. He sits in the scientific board of CISEPS – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca, where he leads the “Cultural Evolution” research programme

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SumanFrancesco Suman is a PhD student in philosophy of biology at the Department of Biology of the University of Padua, under the tutorship of Professor Telmo Pievani. He graduated in Philosophical Sciences at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Padua, with a thesis in history and philosophy of science on cybernetics and information theory. His current researches are focusing on the impact that informational concepts had on biological sciences, both from a theoretical and an empirical point of view. In particular he is now testing the validity of the informational approach in Animal Communication, reasoning within a multilevel framework of analysis. He is also interested in the evolution of language.



TEMKINIlya Tëmkin is an interdisciplinary scientist who studies how evolution works in nature and in human culture in the general framework of the hierarchy theory. An expert on bivalve mollusks, Dr. Tëmkin analyzes the relative roles that ecology, history, and individual development play in diversification and the evolution of organic form. As a specialist on the history of musical instruments (and a passionate musician), he explores the question to what extent the mechanisms of information transmission and historical change in human culture mirror evolutionary changes in living systems using musical instrument design as an example. Currently, Dr. Temkin is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Northern Virginia Community College and a Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.