The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 70 (1992) > Issues > Issue 23/24 > Can We Design by Natural Selection?
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Can We Design by Natural Selection?

‘Evolution is a most efficient engineer’ said The Economist (10 November 1990, p136). Evolution, with natural selection (NS) as hypothesis for how it happens, amplified by genetic theories of heredity, is a biological process; it might well have value in engineering design, but it will be by analogy and not by imitation. Let us see what, as engineering designers, we are trying to do and whether and where this analogy might be of use to us; like the duellist in the blacked-out room who, out of humanity, discharged his pistol up the chimney and brought down his adversary nonetheless, we can profit from indirect approaches. Professor Sir Alan Harris