Evolutionary biologist Dr. Patricia Princehouse to keynote LEC Darwin Day celebration


On February 12, scientists and members of the public alike will recognize International Darwin Day, an annual event honoring the life and work of the man whose ideas on science and origins shook the world.

To celebrate, Lake Erie College’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will host events on campus the week prior including a special lecture by Dr. Patricia Princehouse of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). The lecture will take place in the Helen Rockwell Morley Memorial Music Building on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.

Titled "Origins Beyond Darwin: New Life, New Galaxies, New Species, New Science," Dr. Princehouse’s lecture will address questions such as the following: Where did life on earth come from? Does the Big Bang mean the universe will just go on expanding forever? Do dogs and horses have minds like ours? Are there limits on how much we can know?

The lecture description continues: Still fresh 150 years after Darwin, questions about science and origins swirl in the imagination of scientists and public alike! Across science, it's increasingly apparent that breakthroughs in understanding the world often come when different kinds of scientists get together to investigate the origins of the systems we see around us today. Such endeavors reveal that getting to here from there is almost never straightforward and understanding origins—from the origins of the universe to the origins of life on earth, human evolution and consciousness—gives not only intellectual satisfaction but also concrete, practical results in surprising ways!

At CWRU, Dr. Princehouse serves as director of the evolutionary biology program, outreach director of the Institute for the Science of Origins (ISO), and director of the Origins Sciences major. She also teaches and co-directs the University’s College Scholars Program.

An expert on primate evolution, Princehouse has conducted museum and scientific fieldwork in North America, Europe and Africa. Her historical and philosophical work contemplates macroevolutionary theory and how scientific thinking differs from other modes of knowledge production.

Dr. Princehouse is a leading voice in contentious efforts to secure the integrity of science education in America’s public schools and serves as Outreach Director of the Institute for the Science of Origins. Locally, she helped to organize the first Cleveland March for Science last spring, sponsored in part by Lake Erie College.

As a founder and advisory board member of Help Ohio Public Education (HOPE) and Ohio Citizens for Science, she has received Ohio Magazine’s Excellence in Education honor, the 2006 Hefner First Amendment Award and the 2003 “Friend of Darwin” Award from the National Center for Science Education.

Dr. Princehouse holds a master’s degree in biological anthropology from Yale University and a PhD from Harvard University, where she worked with influential American paleontologist and evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould.

International Darwin Day’s mission is to inspire individuals to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin.

Lake Erie College’s Darwin Day lecture taking place Feb. 8 is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required. For more information, contact Dr. Deborah Schulman, associate professor of biology, at dschulman@lec.edu or 440-375-7351.

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