February 12, 2009


150 years of Darwin’s landmark book
spawns international conference

Hamilton, ON. February 12, 2009 – An international conference that will explore Darwin’s contribution to biology will be convened at McMaster University May 25-29. It is being organized to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, (and the 200th anniversary—specifically, today—of his own origin).

 “Darwin is the Einstein of biology,” says Ralph Pudritz, director of McMaster’s Origins Institute. “He was quite simply one of the greatest scientists of all time and he wrote one of the world’s most influential scientific works. Over the past century-and-a-half, his ideas on natural selection have expanded beyond evolution through biology and into other disciplines such as neuroscience, molecular biology, and complexity.”  

The conference—Darwin’s Legacy: Natural Selection as an Organizing Principle in Science—will bring together scientists from a variety of disciplines (or a variant thereof) as a guiding principle in their research. Among those already confirmed to talk about how Darwin has impacted the modern world of science are: Mark Rausher of Duke University (selection—natural, sexual and kin); James Valentine of University of California, Berkeley (paleontology); Brian Hall of Dalhousie University (diversity); and David Deamer of the University of California, Santa Cruz (origins of life and astrobiology).  

Steven Benner, of the University of Florida’s Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology, will deliver a free public lecture on May 26 at 8:00 p.m. He will explain a new link being forged between physical science and biology that is changing the way research is conducted into such things as disease and treatment, and even the search for life on other planets.  

Full conference details can be found at http://origins.mcmaster.ca/conferences.php

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.


For more information, please contact:

Jane Christmas

Manager, Public & Media Relations

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 27988


Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869