Lecture on Darwin and the Origin of Life

Ames is proud to announce the first lecture in a series on the Evolution of Science and Technology. On Thursday, March 12 at 7:00 PM at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Dr. James Strick of Franklin & Marshall College will talk about Charles Darwin and his thoughts on the origins of life. Employees and members of the public are invited to attend this free public lecture sponsored by Ames and the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Additional lectures in the series, which honors the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth among other significant anniversaries, will be announced at a later date.

About the Talk: Many people assume that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is inseparably linked to life first arising by natural chemical means. But what did Darwin really say about this? Interestingly, he said very little in public about the origin of life, and what he does say is remarkable for its apparent ambivalence. Discussing the subject in private letters with supporters, Darwin took varying positions over time. This talk will attempt to interpret Darwin's writing on the origin of life in the context of the larger public debate over his theory of evolution, as well as Victorian debates over spontaneous generation of life, medicine, science, and the germ theory of disease. It will also draw connections to modern origin of life research supported by NASA as part of the quest to understand the potential of the universe to harbor life beyond Earth.

About the Speaker: Dr. James Strick is an Associate Professor, science historian, and author in the Department of Earth and Environment at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Dr. Strick's interests are centered on the history of biology and the environmental sciences with research focuses on the history of ideas relating to the origin of life, microbiology, the Gaia paradigm, and NASA's program in Astrobiology, including studies of possible life on Mars.

For directions to the Mountain View Center of the Performing Arts, located at 500 Castro Street in Mountain View, CA visit: http://www.ci.mtnview.ca.us/mvcpa/directions

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