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Annual Conference 2022

On Wednesday 5th October 2022 the Adelphi Genetics Forum is holding its Annual Conference ‘Living with the Eugenic Past’


The Royal Society
Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall
6-9 Carlton House Terrace

Human Lab Testing

2022 marks the bicentenary of the birth of two men whose pioneering work mattered hugely for the science of human genetics, Gregor Mendel and Sir Francis Galton. But their work also mattered hugely for the development and popularization of the dismal project that Galton enduringly named “eugenics”: the breeding of “better” people through science. 

In recognition of the Adelphi Genetics Forum’s descent from the Galton Institute and, ultimately, the Eugenics Education Society – and in keeping with a longstanding tradition of support for public and scholarly discussion and reflection on eugenics – our conference this year is devoted to the problem of how best to live with the eugenic past. 

What are the demands of justice when it comes to the victims of eugenics? 

How should universities and other institutions involved in eugenics deal responsibly with that involvement? 

Can present-day biology education and research be improved to help safeguard the future from the mistakes of the past? 

These are among the questions to be taken up with guidance from our international group of distinguished speakers, beginning with Ms Elaine Riddick, who, having suffered coerced sterilization in North Carolina in the 1960s, has gone on to become an influential champion of eugenics’ victims. Other speakers will be offering perspectives from the history of science, moral philosophy, science education, genomic medicine and law. Near the end of the day there will be a lecture from the science writer and broadcaster Dr Adam Rutherford, author of How to Argue with a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality (2020) and, most recently, Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics (2022).


Ms Elaine Riddick –  Chairperson, Rebecca Project for Justice, Georgia, USA

Professor Joe Cain –  Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology, University College London

Professor Zofia Steplowska –  Professor of Political Theory & Director of the Centre for the Study of  Social Justice, University of Oxford

Dr Brian Donovan –  Senior Research Scientist, BSCS Science Learning, Colorado, USA

Professor Anneke Lucassen –  Professor of Genomic Medicine & Director of the Centre for Personalised Medicine, University of Oxford; Professor of Clinical Genetics, University of Southampton

Dr Adam Rutherford –  Science writer and broadcaster, UK

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin –  Chancellor’s Professor of Law & Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, University of California Irvine, USA

To apply for a ticket and sign up for the conference fill in the form below. 

Please note that the event will be filmed. Speak to one of the organising team if you don’t want to be on camera.

L0017941 Eugenics Society: drawing 'Eugenics'.


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Annual Conference 5th October: Living with the eugenic past.  Find out more and register

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