September 22, 2017  

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Darwin Day at Southern Miss Features Renowned Scientist, Author

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The University of Southern Mississippi is celebrating the birthday of Charles Darwin with an array of Darwin Day festivities set for Friday Feb. 13 on the Hattiesburg campus. 

The event features exhibits, a morning movie screening followed by a panel discussion by Southern Miss professors and afternoon events including t-shirt sales and a keynote address. 

At 2 p.m., Dr. Jerry Coyne, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, will present the keynote address, “Why Evolution is True, and Why Americans Aren’t Buying It.”

Coyne is a member of both the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. His work is focused on understanding the origin of species: the evolutionary process that produces discrete groups in nature.

Coyne has written more than 110 refereed scientific papers and 80 other articles, book reviews, and columns, as well as a scholarly book about his field, Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr. He is a frequent contributor to The New RepublicThe Times Literary Supplement, and other popular periodicals.

Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the day on which Charles Darwin was born in 1809. The event celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin, the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor.

Dr. Donald Yee, an assistant professor in Biological Sciences at Southern Miss, who is helping to coordinate the event, says the event is interdisciplinary in nature featuring faculty from USM’s Department of Philosophy and Religion, History, and Biological Sciences.

“We want the event to give people a better understanding and appreciation of Darwin’s work on evolution and natural selection while also giving them an understanding of how the planet works including medicine, psychology, and biology,” said Yee. 

Darwin Day is supported by the Department of Biological Sciences with assistance from the BSC Graduate Student Forum and the Tri-Beta Biological Society, Southern Miss. 

 “This is the second time we have ever held a Darwin Day at USM,” said Yee. “We look forward to continuing this as an annual event.”

Yee says the event includes more than lectures. “The morning features evolution exhibits and a movie screening of a PBS documentary of intelligent design on trial and the afternoon features the keynote address followed by a book signing by Dr. Coyne and cake and ice cream social.”

The public is invited to the event. For more information, visit http://www.usm.edu/biological-sciences/darwin-day.

The schedule of events at each location is as follows:

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Evolution Exhibits:  Biological Sciences Learning Center | Mississippi Hall Basement

Evolution Set in Stone:  Fossil exhibit   |   Department of Geology and Geography | WSB 103

9 a.m.

Public Viewing of "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial," a PBS Documentary | Polymer Science Auditorium.

11 - 11:45

Panel Discussion of "Judgment Day" with Dr. Sam Bruton (Department of Philosophy and Religion), Dr. Andrew Haley (Department of History) and Dr. Frank Moore (Department of Biological Sciences)

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.  – 4 p.m.

Darwin Day T-shirt Sales  |  Thad Cochran Center Entrance  |  Graduate Student Forum and Tri-Beta Biological Society

9 a.m. – Noon

Bake Sale | Thad Cochran Center Entrance  |  Tri-Beta Biological Society

2 – 3 p.m.

Keynote Address, “Why Evolution is True, and Why Americans Aren ’t Buying It”

Dr. Jerry Coyne, Department of Ecology and Evolution, The University of Chicago | Thad Cochran Ballroom 1

3 – 4 p.m.

Book signing by Dr. Jerry Coyne. Cake and ice cream social. 

For more information, contact Dr. Donald Yee at donald.yee@usm.edu