Andreas Wagner is one of the most captivating evolutionary biologists today. He writes beautifully about Darwin’s discoveries and world-changing theory. But he also spells out in his recent books, Arrival of the Fittest and Life Finds a Way, “what Darwin didn’t know.” “The power of natural selection is beyond dispute, but this power has its limits. Natural selection can preserve innovations, but it cannot create them,” Wagner writes.
Wagner’s research at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, uncovers the hidden powers in nature that propel creativity, from unfolding proteins in cells to the minds of artists at their canvases. This issue of Nautilus, which features an essay by Wagner about his recent work, was inspired by his conception of creativity. As the stories show, nature, including us, is always exploring, experimenting, learning, and refining. Nothing is static, we are always changing—in other words, evolving.
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