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‘Darwin Celebration 2009: A Pittsburgh Partnership’

The year 2009 marks the significant scientific milestones of the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his work, The Origin of Species. To improve public understanding of Darwin’s legacy and his ideas that form the fundamental basis for all modern biology and medicine, Duquesne University is leading a partnership with several Pittsburgh museums and cultural institutions to present Darwin Celebration 2009: A Pittsburgh Partnership.

A series of events, activities, displays and teaching resources,Darwin Celebration 2009 will take evolution education to the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the National Aviary, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Phipps Conservatory, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Dr. David Lampe, associate professor of biological sciences, has coordinated Duquesne’s annual Darwin lecture series since 2003. “For the past six years, we’ve focused on bringing in renowned speakers who can educate the general public on the science of evolution,” he said. “For 2009, it was my goal to expand this to something that would include not only the science of evolution, but the broader impact of evolutionary thinking, because it is clearly one of those profound human ideas that has affected virtually every aspect of society.”

Darwin at 200, a speaker series at Duquesne in Spring 2009, reflects the vast reach of evolution into the larger world of ideas. In addition to an evolutionary biologist who will speak on Feb. 12, Darwin’s 200th birthday, the roster includes experts in history, medicine, philosophy and theology.

Among the activities for Darwin Celebration 2009 are:

  • Synthetic Darwin, an interview display created by Duquesne University with the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center to be housed at the Carnegie Science Center
  • Weekly lectures at Duquesne University and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History presenting the scientific evidence supporting evolution as a scientific fact
  • Darwin at 200, an evening public lecture series addressing the broader impacts of the idea of evolution on areas as religion, politics, psychology and human identity
  • A production of George Bernard Shaw’s play The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles by the Duquesne University Red Masquers
  • Curriculum development in evolution for elementary and middle schools, and teacher training that will be coordinated with the institutions and activities listed above

In addition, various displays honoring Darwin and addressing relevant fundamental principals of modern biology are being planned and developed for a number of Pittsburgh institutions.

For more information and a detailed schedule of Darwin Celebration 2009, visit the www.duq.edu/darwin2009.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.