UGA to celebrate 200th birthday of Charles Darwin with multiple events

UGA to celebrate 200th birthday of Charles Darwin with multiple events

Athens, Ga. – “Darwin Day at UGA: An International Recognition of Science and Humanity” will be among dozens of celebrations worldwide on Feb. 9, honoring the 200th birthday of one of the world’s great scientists, Charles Darwin.

The University of Georgia events actually cover several days and will include lectures, films and numerous other activities, according to Mark Farmer, head of the department of cellular biology in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“In Darwin Day, we are able to recognize the diversity among us while celebrating our common humanity and the universal understanding we share,” says Farmer.

The event is co-sponsored by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at UGA and the cellular biology department.

“In July 1837, Darwin secretly opened his first notebook on the transmutation of species [later to be called evolution] and began to write down his ideas, testing out the theory of progressive change,” according to a group of UGA faculty and students who have been working for months on the local events. Darwin’s path-breaking book On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection was published in 1859.

Numerous events are scheduled to celebrate Darwin’s birthday during the UGA celebration in February. Speakers are UGA faculty members unless otherwise noted. Events include:

*Feb. 9-13: Exhibit of books about evolution and its impact on society. UGA Bookstore.

*Feb. 11:

Noon: “Beauty and the Beast: How Orchids Act as Parasites on Insects and Fungi.” Richard Shefferson. Room 404A, biological sciences building.

4 p.m.: “Epigenetics and Human Health: Was Lamarck Right?” Lecture and panel discussion.Richard Meagher, Fazal Khan and John McDonald (Georgia Tech). A Blue Card event. Room C127, Fred C. Davison Life Sciences Complex.

7:30 p.m.: Screening of Inherit the Wind (1960) Based on the Scopes Monkey trial of 1925, starring Spencer Tracy, Frederic March and Gene Kelly. Introduced by Betty Jean Craige and Richard Neupert. Room 101, Miller Learning Center.

Feb. 12:

11 a.m.: “Try a bit of Trilobite or Ammonite at the Races.” Sally Walker’s display of fossil and edible invertebrates. Miller Learning Center lobby.

Noon: “Meet the Great, Great Grandparents.” Rene Bobe’s fossil hominid casts. Miller Learning Center lobby.

12:30 p.m. “From Dayton to Dover:Celebrating Darwin’s Birthday with a Brief History of the Evolution Teaching Controversy in America.” Edward Larson (Pepperdine University and UGA) will present a seminar. Room 2401, Miller Plant Sciences Building.

2 p.m.: “T. Rex wanna cracker?” A display of dinosaur bones with Ray Freeman-Lynde. Miller Learning Center lobby.

4 p.m.: “Malaria, the Killer Plant.” Mark Farmer. Room 150, Miller Learning Center.

4:30 p.m.: Panel: “The Role of Evolution in Medicine.” Corrie Brown, Pat Thomas and David Lockman. A Blue Card event. Room 150, Miller Learning Center.

7 p.m.: Screening of Judgment Day, a Peabody Award-winning film documenting the events leading up to the 2005 Dover Pennsylvania trial over the teaching of intelligent design. Introduced by Mark Farmer. South Psychology/Journalism Auditorium.

8:30 p.m. Post-screening discussion: Edward Larson, J. Randy Beck and Donald E. Wilkes, Jr. South Psychology/Journalism Auditorium.

Feb. 15:

3 p.m. The Great Tennessee Monkey Trialpresented by the L.A. Theatre Works and starring Emmy Award-winning actor Ed Asner. UGA Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 and $25. For tickets, call 706/542-4400.