23 November 2017
Container Conference Room, IIASA

All Staff Lecture "Natural Cooperation" by Prof. Martin Nowak

Professor of Mathematics and Biology at Harvard University Martin Nowak is to deliver a lecture titled "Natural Cooperation” 

© Harvard University

© Harvard University

Abstract - Natural Cooperation

Cooperation implies that one individual pays a cost for another to receive a benefit. Cooperation can be at variance with natural selection. Why should you help competitors? Yet cooperation is abundant in nature and is an important component of evolutionary innovation. Cooperation is a master architect of evolution and can be seen as the third fundamental principle of evolution beside mutation and selection.

Nowak will present five mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation: direct reciprocity, indirect reciprocity, spatial selection, group selection and kin selection. He will also discuss global cooperation and cooperation with the future.

About Martin Nowak

Martin Nowak is Professor of Mathematics and of Biology at Harvard University. He studied at the University of Vienna.  He was a doctoral student of Karl Sigmund and a young scientist at IIASA. He held appointments at the University of Oxford and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Prof. Nowak works on the mathematical description of biology. His contributions include evolution of cooperation, of language, of eusociality, adaptive dynamics, dynamics of viral infections and cancer. He is the author of four books and over 400 scientific papers.

Print this page

Last edited: 17 November 2017


Pavel Kabat

IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer


T +43(0) 2236 807 402


Kaboré I, Moog O, Ouéda A, Sendzimir J, Ouédraogo R, Guenda W, & Melcher AH (2018). Developing reference criteria for the ecological status of West African rivers. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 190 (1) DOI:10.1007/s10661-017-6360-1.

Holmberg M, Aherne J, Austnes Kari, Beloica J, De Marco A, Dirnböck T, Fornasier MF, Goergen K, et al. (2018). Modelling study of soil C, N and pH response to air pollution and climate change using European LTER site observations. Science of the Total Environment 640-64: 387-399. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.299.

Carvalho L, Lundgren J, Wetterlund E, Wolf J, & Furusjö E (2018). Methanol production via black liquor co-gasification with expanded raw material base – Techno-economic assessment. Applied Energy 225: 570-584. DOI:10.1016/j.apenergy.2018.04.052.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313