This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Wednesday 10 June 2020, 1pm to 2pm
  • Location: Online event
  • Audience: Open to alumni, staff, students, the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Missed this event? Watch the talk on Youtube.

Stress, obesity, poor mental health, drug addiction, bowel diseases, violence and fake news; a stark checklist of modern world problems - and every one of them an echo of our evolutionary past.

Join biologist and broadcaster Adam Hart as he explores the mismatch between our fundamental biology and the modern world we have created.

Adam, author of Unfit for Purpose, reveals the many ways in which biological adaptations that evolved to help us survive and thrive now work against us. For example, in the modern world stress is a killer but how did 'fight or flight' turn from life-saver to life-taker? Obesity might be a disease now but is it really just a troublesome side-effect of our complex evolutionary past? Whether it's the derailing of microbes in our gut, the rise of gluten and lactose intolerance or the problems of social media, we always seem to have one foot in the modern world and the other firmly in our evolutionary past.

Join Adam as he explains how, in a modern world of our own making, we find ourselves 'unfit for purpose' – but that all is not lost! By unpicking the evolutionary causes of many of our current woes Adam will reveal some secrets of evolutionarily-informed treatments, from fecal transplants to changing the way we think about ourselves and our future.

Missed this event? Watch the talk on Youtube. 


About the speaker

Professor Adam Hart of the University of Gloucestershire carries out research on entomology, ecology and citizen science and is a regular broadcaster and author of popular science articles. He has presented documentaries for BBC Radio 4, BBC 4 and BBC 2, as well as the weekly BBC radio programme Science in Action. The author of The Life of Poo about our complex relationship with bacteria, his latest book is Unfit for Purpose (Bloomsbury).

Book sales

You can buy copies of many of our speakers’ books from Fox Lane Books, a local independent bookseller and Festival partner.  In some cases, author signed bookplates are available too.   


University of York