Donít miss this opportunity to sign up for this yearís Darwin Day Meeting on Friday February 10th (places are limited and filling up fast).
The Programme and Application Form are available as Word or PDF documents.
The Darwin Day meeting in Birmingham was set up by Professor Mark Pallen in 2004, as part of an international movement to celebrate the life, work and influence of Charles Darwin on or near to his birthday, February 12th. We take local pride in celebrating our local English Midlander (born in Shrewsbury, 1809). The meeting is open to the public and aims to foster a spirit of inter-disciplinarity among academics.
The first meeting in February 2004 featured talks on bacterial genomics, evolution of antibiotic resistance, genetic algorithms and the evolution of biblical manuscripts. The highlight of the meeting was readings of anti-slavery prose and poetry from the Darwin family by the Rastafarian poet, Benjamin Zephaniah, together with a performance of his own work.
The second meeting, in 2005, featured talks on molecular evolution in humans and in HIV, the end-Permian mass extinction, the hunt for the remains of HMS Beagle, the Darwin Correspondance Project and the evolution of language. The meeting closed with a performance of the Origin of Species in Dub, a celebration of Darwin's masterwork through the medium of reggae music (which attracted much publicity).
This year, for our third Darwin Day, we have assembled an impressive line up of talks, starting with a keynote address from Nick Matzke, from the US National Centre for Science Education. Nick prepared the "case for evolution" in the recent widely publicised trial in Dover, Pennsylvania, in which Judge John E. Jones III ruled that the teaching of Intelligent Design was unconstitutional (read the ruling here). This year's Darwin Day thus provides us Brits to hear first hand news from the front line in the battle to defend evolution--and science in general--against its critics.
Other themes covered in this year's meeting include the origin of Darwin's finches, discussion of political and public perceptions of science, a re-appraisal of the Wilberforce-Huxley debate, the evolution of art, of manuscripts, of the human face and gait, of plants and of the hepatitis C virus, Finally, the meeting will close with more musical and video celebrations from the Genomic Dub Collective, including the release of a new reggae track "Dub fi Dover" to celebrate the recent victory for science in Dover, Pennsylvania.
The Darwin Day meeting in Birmingham benefits from collaborative relations with the Shrewsbury Darwin festival, which this year provides a second chance to hear Nick Matzke and the Genomic Dub Collective on Feb 5th: see their programme for details.
Mark Pallen, Jan 2006