2017 Darwin Day commemorates Charles Darwin’s birthday, showcases scientific research

Poster sessions and guest lecturers aim to celebrate Darwin’s legacy.

Charles Darwin IllustrationTo honor the 208th birthday of legendary evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, the University of Alabama at Birmingham will host its annual Darwin Day celebrations in February. The events will celebrate scientific research in evolutionary biology and other disciplines.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, and Friday, Feb. 10, UAB’s Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences will screen a movie, hold a panel discussion and an art exhibition, host a national science media personality, and have a poster session for students.

“Charles Darwin’s great discovery, the principle of natural selection, is more relevant to science than ever before,” said Steven Austad, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biology. “For instance, it underlies our increasing success in cancer chemotherapy, provides guidance in combating new strains of drug-resistant diseases, and will ultimately determine how catastrophic climate change will prove to be for our planet.”

This year’s guest speaker is Joe Palca, NPR science correspondent and host of “Joe’s Big Ideas.” Palca’s lecture, “Science and News: A Marriage of Convenience,” will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and will be open to the public.

The remainder of the events over the two days are as follows:

Thursday, Feb. 9

8 p.m. Film: Godzilla (2014). Movie viewing with panel discussion, including guest panelist Joe Palca.

Location: Hill Student Center’s Alumni Theater, 1400 University Blvd.

Friday, Feb. 10

1 - 3 p.m. Science Communication Session with Joe Palca

Location: AEIVA, 1000 13th Street South

4 - 6 p.m.“Several Powers”: An Art Exhibition

Location: Project Space - UAB Humanities Building, Room 100, 900 13th Street South

7 p.m. Lecture: “Science and News: A Marriage of Convenience” Speaker: Joe Palca, Ph,D. – NPR Science Correspondent and Host of “Joe’s Big Idea”

Location: UAB Alumni House, 1301 10th Avenue South

8 p.m. Reception and Poster Session

Location: UAB Alumni House, 1301 10th Avenue South

After the Department of Biology’s events conclude, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Anthropology will host a lecture in honor of Darwin Day. On Monday, Feb. 13, David H. Dye, Ph.D., from the University of Memphis will speak on the evolution of peace and war. The event will be held in Heritage Hall room 102 at 1:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 13

1:30 p.m. Lecture: “The Evolution of Peace and War” Speaker: David H. Dye, Ph.D., professor of archeaology at the University of Memphis

Location: Heritage Hall Room 102, 1401 University Blvd.

“The approach of Charles Darwin represents the scientific endeavor at its best wherein data and reasoning interact to elucidate the natural world,” said Doug Fry, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Anthropology. “Anthropologists and other students of science today will be well-served by striving to emulate Darwin’s objectivity, meticulous attention to detail and appreciation for complexity during the practice of science.”


  • February 9
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