Plenary speakers

Get inspired and learn from the experience of our amazing plenary speakers!

Adam Rutherford

“Eugenics, and the Misuse of Mendel”

Geneticist, popular science author and radio presenter. 

More information about Adam Ruthford here

The emergence and translation of Mendel’s discoveries about genetics into English coincided with the rise of eugenics, and provided its most devoted apostles with a biological mechanism to justify their bigotry. An ideological commitment to mendelian pedigrees formed the pseudoscientific basis for mass sterilisation and genocide. We now have a much more sophisticated understanding of human genetics, but this eugenic spectre limps on in our culture, reinforcing a view of biology that is simplistic, deterministic and wrong.

Joana Moscoso

“Circularity in Science Communication and Outreach”

Co-founder & Director of Native Scientists and Co-founder of Chaperone.

More information about Joana Moscoso here

Science communication and outreach have long served as valuable tools for institutions and professionals to engage the public with scientific topics and research, promote learning, build trust, shape public policies, and/or inspire interest in science and scientific careers. Recently, an increasing emphasis on engaging diverse audiences and using innovative communication strategies has expanded the potential of science communication and outreach as tools that promote inclusivity and address societal challenges. Moving beyond the concept of science communication and outreach for inclusion and diversity, we will explore the application of circularity principles in the field, focusing on two programmes that connect scientists and children from the same migrant community and/or hometown. By embracing circularity, the programmes foster a transformative, dynamic and sustainable approach to science education and engagement. They incorporate hands-on activities that address real-world challenges, deepening children’s understanding of scientific concepts and encouraging them to think critically while also sparking interest in science and fostering a lifelong passion for learning. Through the convergence of inclusivity, circularity, and science communication and outreach, we will look into the potential of these innovative programmes to foster an empowered society driven by scientific literacy and curiosity, where knowledge is shared and accessible.

Jonathan Tweet

“The Story of Grandmother Fish & How to Engage Young Minds”

Author of “Grandmother Fish”, the first book to teach evolution to preschoolers and creator of two evolution-themed card games.

More information about Jonathan Tweet here

When creative projects teach evolution to children, what works and what doesn’t? It’s a wickedly difficult concept to get across, but one might succeed by playing on how children love animals, love families, and love play. The story of how the book Grandmother Fish came to be includes several lessons for others who want to make evolution accessible to kids. Questions welcome!

Louise Mead 

“Using cases and Avida-ED to Improve Student Understanding of Evolution: Anecdotes and Evidence”

Education Director for the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, USA.

More information about Louise Mead here

Improving undergraduate student understanding of evolutionary processes can be daunting.  Students often enter your class with various alternative explanations, as well as misconceptions. A great deal of research has been done (and published) on how best to teach this topic, many studies providing helpful, if not instructive, information.  Over the past six years I have been developing evolutionary case studies, in connection with Avida-ED, a digital evolution software program, to help non-biology STEM majors construct their understanding of evolutionary mechanisms.  We have formally studied student understanding, and allowed students to self-reports what components of the course were most informative to understanding evolutionary processes. In this talk I will share our research as well as the approach I use and what I’ve learned from my students.

Learn from these amazing speakers and from other speakers at EvoKE 2023. Apply here before 18th June!