Ilya Tëmkin

Professor of Biology, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and Research Associate, National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution)

Ilya Tëmkin is an interdisciplinary scientist who studies how evolution works in nature and in human culture in the general framework of the hierarchy theory. An expert on bivalve mollusks, he analyzes the relative roles that ecology, history, and individual development play in diversification and the evolution of organic form. As a specialist on the history of musical instruments (and a passionate musician), he explores the question to what extent the mechanisms of information transmission and historical change in human culture mirror evolutionary changes in living systems using musical instrument design as a model system. Most recently, he coedited Evolutionary Theory: A Hierarchical Perspective (Chicago University Press, 2016).

Ilya holds a doctoral degree in Biology from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Columbia University. He was a postoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), and Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris). Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Biology at NOVA and a Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.

Participant In:

What principles of order underlie the ascent of complexity, from the simplest particles of physics heralding the birth of the universe, through biological forms, to the achievements of civilization? Has a recurrent theme of combination and integration led to multiple fundamental levels from quarks to culture? What do we learn from the ongoing creative process… read more »