The tinkering, refinement and self-organisation of natural selection that has allowed evolution to make such creative leaps in the history of life will be explored at an international conference in the UK this week. Explanations into the ways that self-organisation operates among birds, to help them form flocks, and in robots, children, flies and cells, will be examined. SFI External Professor Peter Schuster is among the speakers. With the Nobel Laureate Manfred Eigen, he came up with the idea of the "hypercycle" - different components "feeding on each others' waste" while maintaining an (often fragile) overall stability. This scheme was used to show how simple chemicals co-operated to create the first living things billions of years ago.