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Press Release

Josie Patterson

MIT Museum

presents Darwin in Society

A day long symposium for educators and interested community members

Satuday, January 24, 2009
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m
Free admission for symposium
Register at http://www.darwinbicentennial.org/

CAMBRIDGE, MA —Darwin in Society, a series of informal talks and presentations on Saturday, January 24 will take place at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. In this, the first public presentation that celebrates the Bicentennial of Darwins' birth, a range of speakers will examine Darwin's legacy and aid the public and teachers in better understanding the importance of the evolutionary theory as it relates to ongoing scientific research.

Organized by MIT Professor of Molecular Biology and Chair of the MA Darwin Bicentennial Project, Jonathan King, Saturday's symposium highlights the direct relationship between Darwin's work and the emergence of biomedicine and its potential for curing human diseases.

"While many people today associate Darwin's work with the controversies about teaching evolution in American schools, we hope to explain how important evolutionary theory has been over time in debunking the myths around racial intelligence (the eugenics movement), and in setting the stage for the expansion of biomedicine and the hope for curing diseases." says Professor King. King's MIT committee is hosting a 3 day conference at MIT; Saturday at the MIT Museum will be specifically geared to the general public and biology teachers. "Last year we found great interest in the subject when the Museum presented a play about Darwin, and also hosted renowned biologist Kenneth Miller" added King.

The Darwin Symposium will take place on the second floor of the MIT Museum in the Conference Room. The audience is invited to stay for the entire day, or drop in to the talks that interest them. Please register for the conference at: http://www.darwinbicentennial.org/

MIT Darwin Bicentennial Symposium

Program: Saturday Jan. 24 @ the MIT Museum

  • 9:00 am.: Coffee

Darwin, His Life and Times

  • 9:30 a.m.: The Emergence of Darwin's Evolutionary Theory
    with MIT History Prof. Harriet Ritvo
  • 10:00 a.m.: Darwin and the Naturalization of Human Culture
    MIT Writing Program Prof. Jim Paradis

Evolution in Action

  • 11:00 a.m.: The Evolution of Cell Division
    Prof. Iain Cheeseman  from the MIT Whitehead Institute
  • 11:30 am.: The Battle Between Pathogens and the Immune System
    Prof. Hidde Ploegh from the MIT Whitehead Institute

Lunch – Please register at: http://www.darwinbicentennial.org/
Box lunches available on a first come-first served basis.

Societal Impacts and Issues

  • 1:30 p.m.: Local Resources for Biology Teachers
    Dr. Natalie Kuldell, MIT Bioengineering Dept., Prof. Rebeca Rosengaus Northeastern University Dept. of Biology and Dr. Connie Chow, Science Club for Girls
  • 2:00 p.m.: Darwin, Abolition, and Struggles for Social Equality
    MIT Molecular Biology Prof. Jonathan King    
    2:30 p.m.: Current Controversies over the Teaching of Evolution
    John Durant MIT Museum Director and adjunct professor MIT Science, Technology & Society Program

MIT Darwin Bicentennial Symposium Sponsors:

MIT Dept. of Biology; MIT Museum; MIT School of Humanities; MIT School of Science; Cambridge Forum on Science Education; Massachusetts Darwin Bicentennial Project; New England Biolabs; Whitehead Institute; Broad Institute.

Of Related Interest:

  • Charles Darwin's Birthdate: February 12, 1809
  • MIT Darwin Bicentennial Symposium
  • NOVA: Judgment Day Intelligent Design on Trial, Evolution, Charles Darwin and Intelligent Design

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