Vassar College celebrates Charles Darwin with two Darwin Days events this week: a lecture on February 8 by biology professor John Long and a trip on February 12 to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Biology professor John Long delivers a lecture entitled "Darwin's Devices," based upon his forthcoming book Darwin's Devices: What Evolving Robots Can Teach Us About the History of Life and the Future of Technology, on Wednesday, February 8, at 5:30pm in Rockefeller Hall (room 200). Since dead fossils tell no tales, Long and his students reanimate the past, building biorobots that model the structure and behavior of ancient vertebrates. In the laboratory, they set these biorobots free and let them compete in the game of life, evolution. Watching the action unfold over many generations, Long and his students test ideas about what kind of selection pressurs and genetic systems might have driven the evolution of major groups of animals.
On Sunday, February 12, Darwin Days presents a trip to the American Museum of Natural History for the Vassar community. (RSVP by February 8 to Ric Jones at email@example.com if you would like to attend.)
The International Darwin Day Foundation noted that: “Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the day that Charles Darwin was born on in 1809. Specifically, it celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin – the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor. More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity.” (http://www.darwinday.org)
The 2012 Darwin Days program at Vassar is sponsored by the Darwin Days Committee, the Departments of Earth Science and Geography, Biology, Environmental Studies, and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.