Robert Pennock portrait

Robert T. Pennock

Lyman Briggs College

Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering

Socially Engaged Philosophy of Science (SEPOS)

Michigan State University

  • E-mail: pennock5{at}
  • Mail: 919 E. Shaw Lane, Rm. E35, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing MI 48825-1107
  • Office: W-34 Holmes Hall
  • Phone: (517) 432-7701
  • WWW:
  Front page of Nature article  

I'm co-PI on an NSF Science & Technology Center grant. BEACON studies evolution in action in both biological and digital environments. [nsf, npr]


  Avida-ED ISAL Award  

My Avida-ED project won the International Society for Artificial Life (ISAL) Education & Outreach Award (2017).




  Clip of Avida-ED in Science  

Upcoming and recent presentations include:
• AAAS (2/2019)
• Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina (5/2019)
• 6th World Conference on Research Integrity, Hong Kong (6/2019)
• Evolution 2019, Providence RI (6/2019)
See complete list of public and professional talks, with titles.

Pennock teaching

* Courses / Teaching *

Fall 2018


Spring 2019

• LB492 §8: Evolutionary Design


Salmon Run logo

My evolutionary ecology game for middle-school biology classes is in early stages of development.

Class & Cake

Students baked an "I Heart Evolution" cake to share for the last day of our Senior Seminar on Evolution in Action..

• Some Previous Courses I've Taught

-Study Abroad-
  Darwin Wants You (to Study Abroad)  

-Philosophy of Technology-
  Charles Babbage's Difference Engine  

-Evolution in Action-
  Petri dishes  

-Philosophy of Biology-
  Cover of Science, Evolution and Creationism  


* Research *

An Instinct for Truth coverTower of Babel cover
ID Creationism & Its Critics coverCover of But Is It Science
Aritificial Life 13 Proceedings cover imageEvolution in Action cover art

  Nature article first page  

My Nature article (with Richard Lenski, Charles Ofria and Chris Adami) on The Evolutionary Origin of Complex Features. See articles about this work in MSNBC, National Geographic, New Scientist,, Telegraph, and Slashdot.

  Discover magazine cover  

Some of my work using digital organisms to test hypotheses about the evolution of complexity and of altruism is discussed in the cover story of the Feb. 2005 issue of Discover magazine. [text, pdf]

  Avida-ED clip from Science magazine  
Science magazine included mention of my Avida-ED digital evolution educational software. After 3 years of development and classroom testing, Avida-ED was offcially released for public distribution at the Society for the Study of Evolution Meeting in June 2007.
  Cover of Science, Evolution and Creationism  

I was on the Authoring Committee of the National Academy of Science and Institute of Medicine group that produced Science, Evolution and Creationism: A View from the National Academies of Science, which the National Academies Press published in 2009.


* Service & Outreach *

  • Defending the Integrity of Science Education
  • Member at Large, History & Philosphy of Science Section L, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (Present)
  • Society for the Study of Evolution Representative to AAAS (Present)
  • American Philosophical Association representative to American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Section Committee for History and Philosophy of Science. (Present)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Committee on Public Understanding of Science and Technology (COPUST) (Past member).
  • American Philosophical Association Committee on Public Philosophy (Past member)
  • Chair, Education Committee, Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) (2005-2010)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (MSU Chapter Past President, Past Secretary, Present Nominating Committee)
  • Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society (Past Chapter President)
  Robert Pennock speaking at UCSD  

That's how May Barenbaum described me when presenting me with the American Institute of Biological Sciences Outstanding Service Award at the Washington DC ceremony in May 2009.

  Nature article first page  

I was called as an expert witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board case. You can read my expert report and deposition. Of the various articles about my testimony, these were two of the most detailed: York Daily Record & CNN.

  Avida-ED clip from Science magazine  

I appeared in the NOVA special 2-hour program Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. Additional excerpts from my interview are used on the NOVA web page Defining Science that accompanies the show.

  Cover of Science, Evolution and Creationism  
I was interviewed by the History Channel for the documentary Scopes: The Battle Over America's Soul, that was part of their series 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America.
  USA Science and Engineering Festival logo  

I organized the Society for the Study of Evolution exhibit "Evolution, Here and Now" for the first USA Science & Engineering Festival, first held on the National Mall in Washington DC in 2010 and biannually since then.




Last Updated: 2019/04/4