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Darwin's Evolution

The Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Committee on Science and Technology Studies present a year-long celebration of the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. Visit the Events Calendar for locations and times.

All events are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

October 9
"Celebrating Darwin in 2009:
Charles Darwin's Life, Times and Origin of Species" 

Janet Browne, speaker

Janet Browne, professor of the history of science at Harvard and noted author on Darwin, will speak.

History tells us that Darwin was neither the first nor the only one to think of evolution. This talk takes the opportunity to think carefully about why and how the figure of Darwin still carries such a punch today. It explores the idea of a ‘Darwinian revolution’ and asks why this concept is still so important. Topics include the heroic myths that surround Darwin and religious controversy.

Reception to follow.

December 4
"States of Theory in Biology and the Humanities”

The second event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species will feature two scholars from the sciences and two from the humanities. 

Panel participants: 

Patricia Gowaty, Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
“Beyond Narrow-Sense Sexual Selection:  It’s About Time”

Harriet Ritvo, Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“The Problem(s) with Animals”

Vanessa Ryan, Assistant Professor of English, Brown University
“Spencer, Cognition, Fiction”

Marlene Zuk, Professor of Biology, University of California, Riverside
"Evolutionary Theory, Sex, and Gender"

To see photos of this event, click here.

February 24
“Evolution and Religion”

The third installment of the year-long celebration of Darwin's birth and the publication of The Origin of Species. This panel discussion will be lively conversation with leading experts on Darwin's theory of evolution and its impact on how we understand religion.

Panel participants:

Moderator: Kenneth Miller, Biology, Brown University, author of Finding Darwin’s God and Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul.
"Re-Inventing Paley: Evolution and the True Design of Life"

Mary Bergstein, History of Art + Visual Culture, Rhode Island School of Design
"The Philippson Bible: A World of Science and Art"

Edward Larson, School of Law, Pepperdine, and author of Pulitzer Prize-winning Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion
"Born Again Creationism:  A Modern American Phenomenon"

Massimo Pigliucci, Ecology and Evolution, SUNY Stony Brook, co-author of Making Sense of Evolution
"What Does Evolution Tell Us, if Anything, About God?"

To read the Brown Daily Herald article about this panel, click here.

To see photos of this event and the related art exhibit, click here.

February 24 - May 26
"Evolutionary Landscape" Art Exhibit
Pembroke Hall
9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday

February 24
Opening and Reception for the Artist
Pembroke Hall

Artist Eve Stockton exhibits her woodblock prints, collectively called "Evolutionary Landscape," as part of the year-long Darwin events hosted by the Cogut Center and the Committee on Science and Technology Studies. With figures and colors taken directly from nature, Ms. Stockton's art celebrates life on earth from the cellular level up to the familiar.

For a flyer on this exhibit and commentary on Ms. Stockton's work, click here.

April 6, 2009
“What’s New in Evolution?”


Marc Kirschner, Systems Biology, Harvard University, co-author of Cells, Embryos, and Evolution and The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin¹s Dilemma
“How the Organism Facilitates Its Own Evolution”

Jonathan Kaplan, Philosophy, Oregon State, co-author of Making Sense of Evolution
“Variation and Inheritance: Horizontal & Vertical, Genetic & Non-Genetic”

Johanna Schmitt, Biology, Brown University
“Darwin Meets the 21st Century”

Peter Taylor, Graduate College of Education, Program in Critical & Creative Thinking, University of Massachusetts, Boston
“Making Evolutionary Theory More Ecological: An Update on Chapter 3 of Darwin's Origin

To see photos from this event, click here.

May 4 - June 30, 2009
"The Origin of the Theory:  Tracing Darwin's Evolutionary Thought"
Library Exhibit
John Hay Library

In honor of the Darwin bicentennial, this exhibit at the John Hay Library will use the Library’s extensive holdings in the History of Science to place Darwin and his colleagues within the broader context of Victorian scientific endeavor. The exhibition will include books, prints and original correspondence, and will be featured during Commencement Weekend.

For library hours, click here.

For on-line access to many of Darwin's writings.