Lecture series celebrates the life and work of Charles Darwin

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Dec. 30, 2008) -- Why do we die? Why do animals look and behave the way they do? How can we explain the existence of animals as splendid and ridiculous as the peacock?

A monthly University of Oregon lecture series, "150 Years Since the 'Origin': A Darwin Bicentennial Birthday Celebration," will explore these questions and many more - and how they relate to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The series starts on Tuesday, Jan. 13 with "Darwin's Puzzles: The Evolution of Sex and Death" by Patrick Phillips, professor of biology.

"People have been trying to explain the amazing diversity of life on earth for centuries, but the root of all of our modern ideas on the topic really trace back to Charles Darwin," said Phillips, a researcher with the UO Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His talk will explore the topics of sexual selection, sexual conflict and the genetics of aging and longevity.

The series will cover topics including the evolution of cooperation and society, the evolution of molecular complexity and the interaction between evolution and religion.

"Modern science, particularly molecular biology and breakthroughs in genetic research, not only benefit from the groundwork Darwin laid, but also create new understandings and new applications for the theory of evolution," said Phillips. "The celebration of Darwin's work is really about looking back through the lens of what we know today and examining its applicability to life in the 21st century."

Speakers are UO faculty and visiting professors from University of Wisconsin and Brown University. The monthly lectures are sponsored by the Humanities Center, Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Molecular Biology, Institute of Neuroscience, Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Department of Biology and College of Arts and Sciences.

The lectures are free and will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Lillis Business Complex, Room 182, 955 E. 13th Ave.


Tuesday, Jan. 13
"Darwin's Puzzles: The Evolution of Sex and Death"
Patrick Phillips, UO Department of Biology and Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Tuesday, Feb. 10
"The Evolution of Cooperation"
Warren Holmes, UO Department of Psychology

Tuesday, March 10
"The Evolution of Complexity: Inside Darwin's Black Box"
Joseph Thornton, UO Department of Biology and Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Tuesday, April 14
"Make Love Not War: What Chimpanzees Can Tell Us About the Evolution of Human Behavior"
Frances White, UO Department of Anthropology

Monday, May 4
"Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species"
Sean Carroll, University of Wisconsin, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the Howard Hughes Medical Institution, Robert D. Clark Lecturer

Wednesday, May 27
"Finding Darwin's God"
Kenneth Miller, Brown University, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Kritikos Professorship Lecture