KLI Mendel symposium

Mendel's Legacy in Science and Society


Organized by Barbara Fischer, Lynn Chiu, and Philipp Mitteroecker (University of Vienna)

The long-reaching impact of Gregor Johann Mendel (and different interpretations of "Mendelism") go beyond the academic discipline of genetics. In this public symposium, we invite scholars to share their reflections on the legacy of Mendel's work in the history of science, in the biological sciences, in the education and communication of science, in medicine, and also in social policies and society. The symposium is organized by the University of Vienna and will be hosted, in-person, at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI).

#Mendel200 @Mendel200

Registration for in-person attendance is now closed.
Those interested in attending in person can contact us to inquire about availability.

Please register below to receive links to attend the symposium online.

Dates: october 13-14th, 2022
Time: 9:30-17:00 (CET)

Location: The KLI
Martinstrasse 12, 3400 Klosterneuburg

By train: S40 (S-Bahn) to Klosterneuburg Kierling Bahnhof
By bus: Klosterneuburg-Kierling Bahnhof (Niedermarkt)

Live streamed & open to the public

Schedule (subject to change)

Each session will be 40 minutes long: a 30 minute talk with a 10 minute discussion period. Lunch will be catered.

Day 1, October 13th, Thursday

9:00 Sign-in

9:30 Gerd Müller (President of the KLI)
Presidential welcoming remarks

9:40 Greg Radick (University of Leeds)
The Gregor Johann of history and the Mendel of faith: Reflections for a bicentennial

10:20 Blanka Křížová (Mendel Museum)
G. J. Mendel – the Story of a Humble Genius

11:00-11:20 Coffee break

11:20 Barbara Fischer (University of Vienna)
How Mendel became a scientist

12:00 Amir Teicher (Tel Aviv University)
Social Mendelism

12:40 - 14:00 lunch break

14:00 Maria Kronfeldner (Central European University)
Genes and us

14:40 Eva Jablonka (Tel Aviv University)
What is inherited and how?

15:20-15:40 coffee break

15:40 Isabella Sarto-Jackson (KLI)
Patchwork Minds: How Mendelian, Non-Mendelian, as well as Non-Genetic Inheritance Shape the Human Brain

16:20 Lynn Chiu (University of Vienna)
Engaging with the science of inheritance in informal science spaces

Day 2, October 14th, Friday

9:00 Sign-in

9:30 Barbara Fischer & Lynn Chiu
Welcome back!

9:40 Christian Bertsch (ISTA)
Teaching science as process and method of thinking – learnings from G. Mendel

10:20 Brian Donovan (BSCS)
Genetics education needs to move beyond Mendel to combat white supremacy

11:00-11:20 Coffee break

11:20 Kostas Kampourakis (University of Geneva)
Getting Mendel right: How the stereotypical teaching of Mendelian genetics in schools distorts both science and history

12:00 Markus Hengstschläger (Medical University of Vienna)
Medical genetics - quo vadis?

12:40 - 14:00 lunch break

14:00 - 15:00 Round-table discussion (only in person)

Confirmed Speakers

Christian Bertsch

Head of Science Education at ISTA, formerly Prof. for Biology Didactics at PH Vienna

Lynn Chiu

Project Co-lead, Researcher and Science Communicator at the Dept. of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna

Brian Donovan

Senior Research Scientist at BSCS Science Learning

Barbara Fischer

Project Lead and Researcher at the Dept. of Evolutionary Biology at University of Vienna

Markus Hengstschläger

Prof. and Head of the Dept. of Medical Genetics at the Medical University of Vienna

Eva Jablonka

Emeritus Prof. of History and Philosophy of Science at Tel Aviv University

Kostas Kampourakis

Researcher in Biology Education at University of Geneva

Blanka Křížová

Director of the Mendel Museum at Masaryk University

Maria Kronfeldner

Prof of Philosophy at Central European University

Gregory Radick

Prof. of History and Philosophy of Science at University of Leeds

Isabella Sarto-Jackson

Vice-President of the Austrian Neuroscience Association and Executive Manager at Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research

Amir Teicher

Prof. of History at Tel Aviv University


The symposium is currently designed to run both in-person and as a live-stream event. We will also publish professional recordings of the talks. In the event of a surge in COVID cases, we will limit the in-person event to a smaller, closed audience and follow standard practices to help maintain a safer environment. Masks, especially FFP2 masks, are heavily encouraged.

Mendel's World, or Gardens in the air

an illustration by Anna Zeligowski
poem by Jane Monet

Gardens in the air (To abbot Cyril Napp and Gregor Mendel)
Jane Monet

Limping, busy, haughty
The abbot liked the boy:
The striving, the despair
The naughty wit
The lonely eye
The anguish and the flair.

Asker of great questions,
The abbot threw the bait:
What is inherited?
And how?
And watched:
The boy’s unfolding fate
The silent vow
The brewing answer
As sure as his checkmate

The abbot knew:
With things that grow
The boy won’t rush the seasons
He dug, collected seeds
Unlocked the bud,
Precise, alert and slow
He counted
And he reasoned.

The abbot felt:
The weight and horror of his shame
The lead taste of depression
He craved a den, a hole, a lair
Weeds grew
The garden needed care
The pattern did reveal
A mathematical progression
The abbot guessed:
His art will thrive
And the vortex of time
Will hurl gardens into the air,
Moss-covered fragments
Bees and fuchsias
Peas and mice
An endless fair