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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - The Same With a Difference: adaptation between transformation and persistence of structure

30th January 2018, 17:30 to 18:30, James Knott Hall, Trevelyan College, Dr Pascal Nicklas (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz)

‘Adaptation’ describes in nature and culture both a process and a product. The concept is extremely helpful in the sciences and the humanities alike. It is a key term – some argue that it is the most important one – in evolutionary bio­logy and it is used in epigenetics, metabolism, biochemistry and neu­ro­bio­logy alike to describe the change of structures which entails a ‘beneficial’ structural change. These adaptations occur, in opposition to adaptations in the cultural sphere, unintentionally. There is no subject that wills this change and designs the new structure which comes out of the adjusting alte­ration. Adaptations in the media, the arts, music or literature are a creative strategy with a wide range of intentions on the side of producer, artist, composer or writer and with as many different ways of perceiving this on the side of the consumer or recipient.

In this lecture Dr Pascal Nicklas will look at the different concepts in the sciences and the humanities of adapting structures and how they can be mutually enlightening. We will see that the precarious balance between conserving old structures and innovative adjustment is one of the central aspects of adaptation which is probably the most important mode of creation and imagination in culture. For the recipient adaptation can also be a source of considerable pleasure because the act of perceiving an adaptation as an adaptation seems to employ modes of memory, pattern recognition and learning which are very elementary in cognitive-affective terms and stimulating the reward system.

This lecture is free and open to all.


Details about Dr Pascal Nicklas

Directions to Sir James Knott Hall, Trevelyan College

Map - Trevelyan College is denoted as building No. 9


Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.