Rick Prum – The Evolution of Beauty

6 August 2014 (Wednesday) - 13 August 2014 (Wednesday) , 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Professor Rick Prum

Venue: RC4, Level B1, Seminar Room 4

This is an interdisciplinary lecture course that will broadly explore aesthetics and beauty from the perspective of evolutionary biology, human biology, human arts, and culture. The course will begin with a survey of the mechanisms and processes of aesthetic evolution in plants and animals, including the evolution of a fruits, flowers, ornamental sexual signals, warning coloration, etc. This evolutionary framework will then be applied to the investigate aesthetics and human art. The goal will be an interdisciplinary, non-reductionist aesthetic theory that spans the human and the biotic arts from warblers to Warhol, and mockingbirds to Mozart.

About Rick Prum

Rick Prum is William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Curator of Ornithology and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. He has previously served as Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2008-2011). He graduated from Harvard University and received his PhD from the University of Michigan, AnnArbour.

Professor Prum is an evolutionary ornithologist with broad interests in avian biology. He has done research on diverse topics, including avian phylogenetics, behavioral evolution, feather evolution and development, sexual selection and mate choice, sexual conflict, aesthetic evolution, avian color vision, structural color, carotenoid pigmentation, evolution of avian plumage coloration, historical biogeography, avian mimicry, and the theropod dinosaur origin of birds. He has conducted field work throughout the Neotropics and in Madagascar, and has studied fossil theropods in China. His recent research has focused on theoretical and molecular studies of the development and evolution of feathers, developing and applying new tools for the study of the physics and evolution of structural coloration, and continued efforts in phylogenetic ethology of polygynous birds.

He is currently the Director of the Franke Program in Science and the Humanities, which is a new initiative at Yale that aims to foster communication, mutual understanding, collaborative research and teaching among diverse scientific and humanistic disciplines.

“The bird-filled world of Richard Prum” http://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/articles/3318

The Evolution of Beauty – TedX Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=128-i8ulC7o