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Darwin’s 200th celebration at ISU Feb. 11-12 includes variety of events

Posted January 29, 2009

Several events celebrating Darwin Day are planned at Idaho State University Feb. 11-12, including a lecture on Darwin by internationally recognized evolutionary biologist Michael F. Whiting, research poster presentations on an evolutionary theme, a panel discussion, a teachers’ workshop and a film on the creationism-evolution debate.

These events are free and open to the public and are sponsored by the ISU Department of Biological Sciences, ISU Cultural Affairs Committee and the Idaho Museum of Natural History.

Keynote speaker Michael WhitingIn addition, the Idaho Museum of Natural History is concurrently featuring the new exhibit “Darwin’s Green Side: Discoveries in Evolutionary Botany.”

This year’s Darwin Day on Feb. 12 celebrates Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s most famous book on evolutionary science, “On the Origin of the Species.” There are currently 282 Darwin Day events scheduled in 31 countries. For more information on Darwin Day, visit www.darwinday.org.

Darwin Day activities planned at Idaho State University are:

• Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 7 to 7:30 p.m., Idaho State University research poster presentations that feature aspects of evolutionary science. The poster sessions will be held in the lobby of Frazier Hall.

• Wednesday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., Brigham Young University’s Michael F. Whiting, Ph.D., will deliver the keynote presentation “Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life” in Frazier Hall’s Bilyeu Theatre. Whiting is a professor of biology in the BYU School of Life Sciences, curator of arthropods and director of BYU’s DNA Sequencing Center.  As a principal investigator or co-principal investigator he has been awarded more than $10 million in research and instrumentation grants. He has published 98 articles and book chapters, and is listed as first author on 23 of those.

 Visit http://lifesciences.byu.edu/old/FacStaff/default.aspx?ID=84 for more information on Whiting.

• Wednesday, Feb. 11, 8:30 p.m., following Whiting’s presentation, there will be a panel discussion featuring experts in evolution from a variety of scientific fields who will field questions about evolution including what it is, how it works and why it is important to understand.

• Thursday, Feb. 12, 4 p.m., showing of the film “A Flock of Dodos” at the ISU Lecture Center Room 10 (ISU Building 67 located behind the Beckley Nursing Building). This is a documentary film by American marine biologist and filmmaker Randy Olson. It highlights the debate between proponents of the concept of intelligent design and the near scientific consensus that supports evolution.

• Thursday, Feb. 12, 5:30 p.m., a reception with refreshments for participants in LC10.

• Thursday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m., a teacher workshop and symposium on how to teach evolution in LC10.

For more information on Idaho State University Darwin Day activities contact Michael Thomas, Ph.D., at (208) 282-2396 or mthomas@isu.edu; or Heath Ogden, Ph.D., at (208) 282-3391 or ogdet@isu.edu.