Charles Darwin celebrations

Charles Darwin

On the 12th February, 1809, Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shropshire, England. Within fifty years the Englishman had become the world’s most renowned and controversial naturalist publishing On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) which for the first time offered a single, simple scientific explanation for the diversity of life on Earth - evolution.

It is now 200 years since the birth of Darwin and 150 years since the publication of Origin of the Species. To celebrate these two auspicious dates The University of Auckland is holding several key events in 2009.

One-day symposium - 12 February 2009

"A celebration of his legacy and 150 years of (R)evolution" is a one-day symposium on the legacy of Charles Darwin organised by The University of Auckland’s Bioinformatics Institute and the School of Biological Sciences. It brings together leading national and international thinkers who will speak of the impact of Darwin on their research in biology, medicine, history and literature. It is designed to appeal to a general audience.

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Our inner ape: The 2009 Sir Douglas Robb Lectures - 24, 26, 31 March 2009

Dr Frans B. M. de Waal, Professor of Psychology at Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta gives the 2009 Robb Lectures titled "Our inner ape - Morality: A Darwinian view of the moral emotions in man and animals".

Dr de Waal is a Dutch-born ethnologist/biologist known for his work on the social intelligence of primates. His first book, Chimpanzee Politics (1982) compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. Ever since, Dr de Waal has drawn parallels between primate and human behaviour, from peacemaking and morality to culture. His popular books - translated into 15 languages - have made him one of the world's most visible primatologists.

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Resolving the Creation versus Evolution Controversy:  Presentations and  debate - 16 and 23 May 2009

The debate over the theory of evolution is challenging our communities.  The concepts of "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design Theory" have helped to polarise the opposing camps in this often confused debate.  If you are interested in this controversial issue join us for two mornings of informed presentation and lively debate.

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