Reports of the National Center for Science Education

Penn Kicks Off Year of Evolution

On April 19, 2008, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology opened a new exhibit to celebrate the central role of evolutionary science in modern biology.The exhibit, entitled Surviving: The Body of Evidence, runs through May 2009 and is the museum's contribution to the Year of Evolution of public programs and events that coincide with the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Darwin and the sesquicentennial of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

The University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Museum are joined by major Philadelphia cultural organizations in launching an ambitious Year of Evolution of public programs and events. These events will draw on the contributions of many outstanding educational and research institutions in Philadelphia, including the Academy of Natural Sciences, The Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Mütter Museum and College of Physicians, the American Philosophical Society Museum, and the Wagner Free Institute of Science. In addition to highlighting Darwin's contribution to modern biology, the partner institutions will offer special programs on the work of Gregor Mendel, evolutionary medicine, and primate ecology and evolution, as well as featured lectures and presentation from prominent internationally known experts in evolutionary science (including NCSE Supporters Donald Johanson and Kenneth R Miller).

According to the Year of Evolution website, the exhibit and related programs provide an opportunity to reflect on the importance of Darwin's contribution to biology and the impact it has had on our understanding of the history and diversity of life:

As we approach the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the originator of the modern theory of evolution, it is a rich time to take stock of how much we've learned since On the Origin of Species was published in 1859.

To round out the celebration, there will be additional lectures, Penn Museum programs for children and families, scholarly symposia, and an evolution-focused freshman class book-reading selection at the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information, visit the exhibit's web site

[Thanks to Pam Kosty at the Penn Museum for the information used in this note.]

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