Many species of insects such as ants, bees and wasps organise themselves into societies consisting of a small number of fertile queens and a large number of sterile workers. These societies display conflict, cooperation, altruism, division of labour, communication and many other features with which we are familiar in human societies. Understanding how these insect societies work is of obvious interest. In his talk, Raghavendra Gadagkar will describe our attempts to use observation and experiments to understand the workings of one such tropical insect society and reflect on why we should care to understand them.
Raghavendra Gadagkar is the Year-of-Science Chair Professor at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He attempts to bridge the gap between the natural sciences and the humanities, including arts and literature. As past President of the Indian National Science Academy, he has a keen interest in promoting scientific research, science education and a scientific temper in society generally.