News Release: Events

Oct. 21,  2008

Biologist E.O. Wilson to Give Keynote at Evolution Conference

Public Symposium set for Emory University Oct. 23-24 Explores How Science Changes Life

"Evolution Revolution: Science Changing Life," a public symposium at Emory University Oct. 23-24, will explore the future of evolution as a theory and a process and the potential of recent research to transform our lives. The program features some of the world's leading scientists, from Emory and beyond, who will discuss how technology and growing knowledge of our origins may affect our future. 

E.O. Wilson, Olivia Judson to Speak

"Evolution Revolution" anticipates the 200th anniversary in 2009 of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of "On the Origin of Species." The two-day event begins Thursday, Oct. 23 with free talks by biologist E. O. Wilson, known as "the father of biodiversity." Wilson will speak informally on the topic of creativity at 3 p.m. in the Jones Room at Woodruff Library, then deliver the keynote address, "Darwin and the Future of Biology," at 7 p.m. in Glenn Memorial Auditorium.

New York Times columnist Olivia Judson, one of the preeminent science writers of our time, kicks off the events of Friday, Oct. 24, with a 9 a.m. talk at the Emory Conference Center. Panels of Emory and Georgia Tech faculty will then discuss how their research is helping to explain where we came from and where we may be going — including the potential for everything from renewable bio-energy sources to bioengineering advances that could transform health care.

Conference Includes Workshop for High School Teachers

The strong educational component of the conference will include a workshop for high school teachers from throughout metro Atlanta, to discuss the difficulties and best practices for teaching evolution. Registration is required for the Conference Center events. For full details on the symposium and to register for events.

"Darwin's theory of evolution has been called the greatest intellectual revolution," says David Lynn, chair of chemistry and co-leader of Emory's strategic initiative for Computational and Life Sciences, the main sponsor for the event. "We want to celebrate Darwin by looking forward, at how the theory of biological evolution continues to change our world view and the understanding of what the future may bring."

Symposium Aims to Share Research With Community

The conference, which bridges the humanities, medicine, public health and the natural and social sciences, aims to communicate the potential of recent research, particularly at Emory — to improve our society.

"We may be reaching the threshold of a new era in the life sciences," says Tom Jenkins, director of the Office of Academic and Strategic Partnerships, which is assisting with the event. From the search for the pre-biotic origins of life, through anthropology and non-human primate research, and the journey into bioengineering, Emory faculty are making major contributions, he says. 

"Emory recognizes that it has a responsibility not just to conduct pioneering research, but to share that research with the community," Jenkins says. "This is a public discussion of cutting edge science that may be transforming our lives."

"Technology is moving extremely fast," Lynn adds. "We're at a critical time now. Evolution is a complex, interwoven network. From renewable energy to health care, we need to put our heads together and think about how we're going to evolve to meet the challenges and pressures we're going to face."


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