Public Lectures: Introducing Darwin

Charles Darwin is one of history's most famous scientists, one of the few scientists whose name is well-known to the general public.  But how much do you really know about him, or about why he's so famous?  Like many whose ideas inspired debate, Charles Darwin today is often reduced to a caricature, slogan, or soundbite.  We see in him, and his ideas, what we want to see, and our picture of Darwin reveals at least as much about us as it does about him.

In 2009 the University of Calgary will present a series of three public lectures unmasking Charles Darwin.  Who was he really, what exactly were his big ideas, and what do they mean for us in our everyday lives?

These free evening lectures are open to and aimed at the general public, and will be delivered by three eminent scholars.  The lectures will be held in the Discovery Dome at Telus World of Science. Lectures will last approximately 50-60 min., and afterwards the speakers will take questions from the audience.

Mott Greene

Darwin the Man


Mott Greene is a leading science historian.  He is John B. Magee Professor of Science and Values at the University of Puget Sound.  Dr. Greene is a past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (popularly known as the "genius grant"), and is the author of several books and numerous articles.


Dr. Greene will speak about the fascinating life and times of Charles Darwin, and will reveal the real man behind the widespread myths.


Lecture details:

"Charles Darwin: Man and Myth"

Thu., Apr. 2, 2009, 7 pm

Discovery Dome, Telus World of Science

Chris Brochu

Darwin's Big Ideas


Chris Brochu is a leading paleontologist. He is an Associate Professor of Geology at the University of Iowa, best known for his studies of fossil predators such as Tyrannosaurus rex and the giant "terror crocodile" Deinosuchus. He is the author of numerous articles and monographs.


Dr. Brochu  will speak on Darwin's "big ideas" of evolution and natural selection, and how these ideas can be used to predict the future as well as explain the past.  


Lecture details:

"The Hierarchy of Certainty: How the Past is Predictive"

Mon., May 4, 2009, 7 pm

Discovery Dome, Telus World of Science

John Brooke

The Meaning of Darwin


John Brooke is an Emeritus Professor at Oxford University. He held the Andreas Idreos Professorship of Science and Religion, an interdisciplinary chair devoted to research and teaching in questions raised for theology by the natural, human and social sciences.  He is the recipient of several awards, and is author and editor of numerous books, including Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives. He is currently President of the International Society for Science and Religion.


Dr. Brooke will speak on the relationship between Darwin's ideas and religion, a question to which Darwin himself devoted much thought.


Lecture details:

"'God knows what the public will think': Darwin's Origin of Species and the Question of Religion"

Tue., Oct 27, 2009, 7 pm

Discovery Dome, Telus World of Science