Please come to UD Darwin Day on February 15 and 16.
On February 15,
Wednesday February 15, 2023 Morris Library 4:30 PM
Pop Goes the Beagle: Darwin for Children Margaret Stetz
Science is increasingly being politicized and scientists themselves demonized. Meanwhile, what children learn in classrooms and in libraries is also under hostile scrutiny. This talk will bring together the subjects of Darwin and education. Through a survey of recent British and American books for young readers, many of them illustrated, we will consider what authors are teaching children about Darwin’s life, voyages, discoveries, theories and, more generally, about the role of science in the past and present.
On February 16, we will have four speakers starting at 3:30 in the ISE building Room 215
Thursday February 16, 2023 Room 215 ISE Building 3:30 PM
Monogamy: What's Love (and the Placenta) Got To Do With It? Will Kenkel
Are humans monogamous? If so, why? Why is our mating system so strange? Why is our pregnancy and childbirth so dangerous? A new hypothesis ties together many of these strange features of human reproduction and explains them via the evolution of another of humanity's core features: our large brains. In a celebration of Darwin Day and Valentine's Day, Professor Kenkel will put the evolution of the brain and the placenta at the forefront of what it means to be human.
4:00 PM Cezanne and His Land: Geology, Meaning and Aesthetics Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer
4:30 PM Darwin's Botany and Plant Animation in H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon Mary Bowden
The pioneering science fiction writer H. G. Wells (1866-1946) was a trained scientist who frequently used evolutionary themes in his novels and short stories. In this presentation, I examine how Wells employs major themes from Charles Darwin’s botanical works, especially Darwin’s 1880 book The Power of Movement in Plants. I argue that Wells’ depiction of growing, moving lunar plants in his 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon made Darwin’s plant movement experiments imaginable to a broad popular audience. Further, I suggest that Wells’ protagonists react to moving plants much like Darwin’s audiences did. Initially overcome with awe, Wells’ protagonists also express anxiety about what plants’ movements might suggest about the relative places of humans and plants in the world. Wells’ fiction thus mirrors both Darwin’s findings and reactions to them, showing the entanglement of literary and scientific understandings of plants in late nineteenth-century Britain.
Keynote Speaker, 5:00 PM, Room 215 ISE Building
An Afternoon with the Neandertals
Fred H. Smith, Sigma XI National Distinguished Lecturer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology Illinois State University
Neandertals have long been considered the epitome of the dumb cave man. Early ideas emphasized not only their physical, but also their perceived behavioral and intellectual, inferiority compared to modern humans. Among the differences emphasized were those relating to language, symbolic behavior, technology and morphology. Recent discoveries find no evidence to assume inferiority in intelligence on the part of Neandertals. We now know that Neandertal morphology reflects adaptation to the harsh, cold environs of western Eurasia during the Pleistocene rather than primitive inferiority. Both the Neandertals' morphology and behavior provide insight into why these well-adapted people were ultimately replaced by early modern humans.