The University of Southampton

Adam makes noise on the big questions of our time

Published: 19 November 2010

Graduate student Adam Davies will presents the first in his new regular series about science on Radio Solent's Nick Girdler show, this Sunday (21 November), just after 11 am.

Adam, who is a doctoral student in the University's Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS), is also a 'NOISEmaker', appointed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to communicate science and technology to a wide audience. The first of his monthly science slots will focus on the recent capture of antimatter atoms at CERN, and his enthusiasm for science and communicating ideas will ensure that he covers many areas of current interest and importance over the coming months.

His own research is in the field of evolution, particularly the limitations of existing evolutionary models. Adam will be spending the next three years on this problem, working with his supervisor, Dr Richard Watson of the School of Electronics and Computer Science. Adam is particularly enthused about the opportunities offered by the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, a Doctoral Training Centre based across the University of Southampton. After studying Earth Science at Oxford University and a few years working in the corporate world for IBM, Adam returned to academic life in 2009 when he saw the advertisement for PhD opportunities at the ICSS.

After the MSc component of the degree, which forms the first year, Adam has now begun his research, although his enthusiasm meant that he had a paper accepted for Artificial Life XII - 12th International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems - in Denmark (August 2010) to present a new model he has developed based on Hebbian Learning.

Adam believes that most evolutionary models do not seek to answer the really interesting questions and he set out to build a simple model complex enough to address these questions. “If we can build a model to study evolution that contains the right dynamics and provides a really good platform to study how it works, we could get some really big insights into how speciation and genetic drift influences the process,” he said. At the moment, he is testing the model, which could have a huge impact on his career and the direction of his research. ____

Adam Davies is a member of the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation. If you are interested in doing PhD research in this group you can find out more on our Postgraduate Admissions Pages.

For further information about this news story contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

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