In this course you will learn how evolution works. You will develop an understanding of evolutionary processes and their formative power. You will see how evolution has shaped biodiversity, and continuously influences our daily life. Evolution impacts human endeavors as varied as medicine, agriculture, psychology, economy, and culture. It is the major unifying principle for biology and a fundamental natural law. In five weeks we will make evolution accessible for you and help you to recognize evolutionary processes around you, in nature as well as in society. We make use of the unique collection of Naturalis, the natural history museum in Leiden, but also take you to the field. Using classical and up-to-date examples, we will show you how scientists address evolutionary questions. In the last module, we will have a look at the future. How will humans evolve? And how do we influence our own evolution and that of other organisms?
This course is aimed at anybody with a drive to obtain a deeper, broader, and pragmatic understanding of evolution, including high-school students, BSc (undergraduate) biology students, MSc (graduate) students from other disciplines, medical professionals, conservation officers and educators in museums, libraries, national parks, and schools.