Darwin's Devices


John Long is Professor of Biology and Cognitive Science on the John G. Vassar Chair of Natural History at Vassar College.  He is the Director, along with Ken Livingston, of the Interdisciplinary Robotics Research Laboratory.

Along with his students and collaborators, John uses robots to study animals, and evolving robots to study evolution.  This integrative research combines biomechanics, biomathematics, cognitive science, computer science, engineering, evolutionary biology, and robotics.

With colleague Ken Livingston leading the way, John is part of a collaboration to use evolving robots to study the evolution of evolvabilityThis research is funded by the National Science Foundation through their cross-disciplinary INSPIRE program.  Other collaborators on this project include Jodi Schwarz, Marc Smith, Nick Livingston, Anton Bernatskiy, and Josh Bongard of the University of Vermont.

John is an associate editor of two great new journals:

Soft Robotics

Frontiers in Robotics and AI (Evolutionary Robotics specialty section).

He’s also on the editorial board of a third excellent journal, Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, and is happy to advise you on publishing your own research in any of these three venues (email:  jolong <at> vassar.edu).

You can find John’s scientific publications at his professorial web page and at his Google Scholar citation page.

John is a nerd and proud of it.


What’s up next?  “Introduction to Robotics,” an educational show for The Great Courses.  We film the 24 episodes in January, 2015, to be released on DVD and via the web in mid-2015.

For popular science writing, John is represented by Laura Wood of FinePrint Literary Management.

John is available for public presentations.

He is also available for academic presentations, including visits to classes that adopt the book.

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