Special Events

Details about events that are not part of a series.

Monday, January 9

Testing on Sunspots

Brown Bag Lecture
Jaq Chartier
12 noon, Osterman Common Room, Institute for the Humanities, 0540 Rackham

(See also Exhibits section of this web site)

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Thursday, January 12

Testing Opening Reception and Gallery Talk

Jaq Chartier
4:30-6:30 pm, Gallery Talk at 5:15 pm, Institute for the Humanities, 0540 Rackham

Friday, January 13

Explore Evolution Exhibit
Preview Reception and Dinner

5:30-7:30 pm, Exhibit Museum of Natural History
Tickets: $50, $75, $100, call (734) 936-5834

Preview the Explore Evolution exhibit before it opens to the public on January 14 then dine with the dinosaurs in the Hall of Evolution. Followed at 8 pm across the street in Chemistry 1800 by the inaugural Distinguished Speaker Series talk by Svante Pääbo, whose work is represented in the exhibit.

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Saturday, January 14

Explore Evolution Exhibit Opening Celebration

9 am – 5 pm, Exhibit Museum of Natural History

  • Get to know the fossil evidence for evolution: cast a fossil to take home.
  • Meet one of the scientists featured in the exhibit : Philip Gingerich , Director of the U-M Museum of Paleontology, will be on hand to answer questions about his research on whale evolution from 10 am to 1 pm
  • Find out how whale fossils are prepared for study and display and explore whale evolution with Research Scientist Bill Sanders from 1 pm to 4 pm
  • Construct an evolutionary timeline
  • See a DNA extraction and learn why genetic evidence is crucial for determining how organisms are related.
  • Learn about upcoming university and community programming on the topic of Evolution, including
    • Winter 2006 LSA Theme Semester, Explore Evolution
    • Ann Arbor /Ypsilanti Reads
    • Family Reading and Science

Evolution in the News

Carl Zimmer, author and news writer
Explore Evolution Exhibit Opening Celebration
2 pm, 1528 C.C. Little Building

Evolution isn't just ancient history. It's also the stuff of cutting-edge science. Carl Zimmer, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, talks about his experiences covering the latest developments in evolutionary biology, from the human genome to the origins of snake venom.

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Tuesday, January 17

Evolution of sex-determination in honey bees

Dr.Soo Chin Cho
Seminar sponsored by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
12:00 noon, 2009 Ruthven Museums Building

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Tuesday, January 29

Origins of marine biodiversity: larval dispersal, phylogeography, and evolution of Indo-Pacific mantis shrimp

Dr. Paul Barber, Boston University
Seminar sponsored by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
4:10 pm, Modern Languages Building Lecture Room 2

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Tuesday, February 7

Student Religion, Faith, and Spirituality in the Classroom and Beyond: How Do Instructors Respond?

Linda Chatters, Professor, School of Public Health; Associate Professor, School of Social Work
David Mindell, Curator, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology; Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Ralph Williams, Professor, English Language and Literature

How do you respond when a student presents a faith-based interpretation of course material? When issues of faith arise in class discussion, how do you maintain an inclusive and comfortable learning environment for all students? How do you manage the relation between course requirements and religious holidays, and other ways in which academic requirements and religious commitments intersect? In this session, faculty speakers will address these issues and more, and there will be time for discussion and exchange of strategies among participants.
Seminar for faculty and instructors, registration required
4:00 - 6:00 pm, CRLT Seminar Room, 1013 Palmer Commons

Thursday, February 9

Darwin's Compass: How evolution
discovers the song of Creation

Simon Conway Morris, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
Presented by the Center for Faith and Scholarship
8 pm,Angell Auditorium B

Intelligent Design Meets the First Amendment

A report from the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the
landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
7 pm, Modern Languages Building, Auditorium 3

A presentation by Stephen Harvey of Pepper Hamilton LLP and Richard Katskee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, counsel for the plaintiffs in the landmark 3intelligent design2 case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District that was decided in Pennsylvania in December 2005. Mr. Harvey and Mr. Katskee will lay out the factual and legal background of the case, and discuss whether intelligent design is science or religion, why the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution continues to generate controversy, and how the controversy implicates important issues of religious freedom.

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Friday, February 10

Darwin's Dilemma: the realities of the Cambrian explosion

Simon Conway Morris, Department of Earth
Sciences, University of Cambridge
William T Smith Lecture Series, Department of Geological Sciences
4:00 pm, 1528 C.C. Little
Reception following, 2540 C.C. Little

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Tuesday, February 14

Life and death at high altitude: what Himalayan mountaineers and Late Permian vertebrates have in common

Raymond Huey, University of Washington
Program in the Environment Speaker Series
5 pm, Exhibit Museum of Natural History
Reception following in Museum Rotunda

Since the first ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953, tens of thousands of mountaineers have traveled to the Himalayas in pursuit of summits and adventure. Some have been successful, and some have died. Elizabeth Hawley’s remarkable data on success and death of mountaineers on Nepalese peaks is now available and enables evolutionary biologists to study patterns of selection on mountaineers on these high peaks. After reviewing the physiological challenges (hypoxia, cold) at extreme altitude, I use Hawley’s data to examine several case studies of mountaineering epidemiology (e.g., whether the use of supplemental oxygen enhances survival, and whether success and death rates suggest senescence of mountaineers). I then use Robert Berner’s data suggesting that oxygen levels have shifted dramatically during the Phanerozoic and use simulations not only to “predict” the maximum altitudes “paleo-mountaineers” could have reached over time (had humans existed!), but also to analyze likely shifting altitudinal distributions of terrestrial animals. I will argue that hypoxia is not only a major factor influencing Himalayan mountaineers, but also was a potential contributor to the Late Permian extinctions and to the delayed faunal recovery during the Early Triassic.

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Sunday, February 19

Evolution and God: Complementary
or Conflicting Worldviews?

Lecture: "Evolution: A Biologist's Perspective,” David Mindell, U-M Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Followed by discussion groups and Q & A with Rabbi Robert Levy & the Reverend James Rhodenhiser
2-4 pm, Temple Beth Emeth/St. Clare's Episcopal Church
2309 Packard Rd., Ann Arbor
Co-sponsored by Temple Beth Emeth, St. Clare's Episcopal Church, UM Life Sciences and Society Program, and Exhibit Museum of Natural History

For additional information, call (734) 665-4744 or e-mail dfitzig@templebethemeth.org

Monday, March 13

Reading from Servants of the Map

Andrea Barrett, novelist
Presented by the Residential College
5 pm, Exhibit Museum of Natural History
Reception following, Museum Rotunda

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Thursday, March 16

Could Neanderthals Chew Gum and Walk at the Same Time? An Archaeological Look at Current Ideas About the Last ‘Archaic’ Humans

John D. Speth, Department of Anthropology
and Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan
Museum of Anthropology Brown Bag Series
12 noon, 2009 Ruthven Museums Building

Ever since their first discovery in the 1850s, Neanderthals have gotten a bad rap. Despite their large brains, they have been viewed as dimwitted brutes. Just how different were they from us? Were they mental morons or merely technologically “challenged” humans with mental capacities much like our own? Could they actually be our ancestors, or are they a failed and now extinct experiment in human evolution? We will take a critical look at archaeology’s changing views of Neanderthals, the sources of these ideas, and the reasons for their tenacity.

Saturday, March 25

Life Through the Ages Discovery Day

Presented as part of the Family Science and Reading Program with area libraries. Supported by Pfizer’s Community Grants Program.
9 am – 5 pm, Exhibit Museum of Natural History

Understand how life on Earth changes through time. Take a close up look at the fossils of creatures from long ago, and learn how scientists clean and study fossils to reveal the secrets of ancient animals. For visitors of all

Highlights include:

  • Live Animal Demonstrations
  • Fossil Dig
  • DNA Extraction
  • Battle of the Beaks
  • Family Resemblance?
  • Fossils with a Twist
  • Prehistoric movies
  • And much more!

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THURsday, March 30

Making Darwin: Biography and Character

Janet Browne, University College London
Science, Technology, Medicine and Society Distinguished Lecture
4:00-5:30pm, Vandenberg Room, Michigan League

Darwin must surely be one of the most celebrated scientists of the
recent past. Every year it seems that a new biography is issued. This
talk explores the history of Darwin biographies and asks what is it that
has captured the imaginations of so many authors? The Darwin that was
presented in the 1880s is different from Darwin in the 1930s and again
in the 1950s. It appears that he has been 'made' and 'remade' over the
decades. In particular, his life and character have been written about
in ways that reflect changing views about science and science's role in

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Sunday, April 2

Darwinian medicine: If natural selection is so great, why are we so vulnerable to disease?

Randolph Nesse, Psychiatry; Psychology; Center for Research on Human Dynamics; Institute for Social Research; University of Michigan
William R. Farrand Annual Public Lecture
Presented by the Exhibit Museum of Natural History
3 pm, Michigan League, Hussey Room

If natural selection is capable of shaping the eye, you would think it would be able to do better than to leave us with the appendix, wisdom teeth, a perilous birth route, narrow coronary arteries and an enormous vulnerability to depression. Many people, even physicians, have the mistaken notion that the body is a machine and that its flaws result because natural selection is not powerful enough to prevent them. A genuinely evolutionary view reveals, however, that the body is not a machine at all but a soma shaped by natural selection whose many vulnerabilities arise not just because of the vagaries of selection, but also for five other good reasons. Explaining why the body is vulnerable is just one example of the many contributions evolutionary biology offers to medicine.

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Saturday, April 8

Footprints: Walking through time

A cross-disciplinary panel facilitated by the artists of The Walking Project

Two-Footed Creatures
Laura MacLatchy, Anthropology, University of Michigan
MacLatchy offers a look at evolution, bipedalism and walking.

On Foot: A History of Walking
Joseph Amato, historian and author:
Amato considers walking as a way to understand power and human relationships, past and present.

Presented by Arts@Michigan
1:30-3pm, Exhibit Museum of Natural History

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monday, April 17

Good Biology and Bad Metaphors

Richard C. Lewontin, Harvard University
Co-sponsored by the Science, Technology, Medicine, and Technogy Program and the Life Sciences and Society Program
4-5:30 pm, 1636 School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University Ave.

This talk will discuss the erroneous and seriously misleading claims about genes and about the relation between organism
and environment that characterize the language used by scientists (and following them, the so-called "public intellectuals" and the press) in the discourse on genetics, evolution, and ecology.

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Distinguished Speaker

Saturday Morning Physics

Origins Symposium

Film Series

Evolution & Culture
Colloquium Series

Museum of Life and Death

Special Events

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads