November 9, 2021 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Online and In Person

Professor Jeff Hardin

On Tuesday 9th November Prof. Jeff Hardin will be giving us a seminar talk entitled – Self-Made People: The Emerging Embryo, Biology, and Belief.

Join us online for the talk followed by Q&A. A link to this webinar will be made available on the morning of the talk.

Practical details to follow if we are able to hold this event in person.


The transformation of each of us from a fertilised egg to an organism with trillions of cells arranged in incredibly complicated ways is a wonder of biology. Each of us is a “self-made” individual, as the programme of develop unfolds. This programme certainly involves the expression of genes, but also form-shaping movements carried out on a massive scale with intricate choreography that – ironically – lacks a sentient choreographer. Development is also robust – many animal embryos can regulate how they develop after massive perturbations, and artificial aggregates of cells can be coaxed to organise in ways that strikingly resemble intact embryos. Does this robustness defy scientific explanation? Do we need to postulate some vital force to explain it? Biologists are beginning to learn in increasing detail how form arises in the embryo. The intricacies of this cellular world provide opportunities for profound wonder, but also raise larger questions about our identity and our place in the world.

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