Skip to main content


Darwin 200: Origins 150 A bicentennial celebration of Charles Darwin


Several IGERT training faculty worked with groups across the University of Oregon campus to organize a public outreach seminar series in honor of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. The monthly lectures are sponsored by the Humanities Center, Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Molecular Biology, Institute of Neuroscience, Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Department of Biology and College of Arts and Sciences. IGERT faculty Patrick Phillips and Joe Thornton were joined by two other faculty from the Center for Cognitive and Decision Sciences to each present a one hour public outreach lecture on a topic related to evolutionary biology. In addition, two outside speakers, including Sean Carroll from the University of Wisconsin, who work on the evolution of development, also gave talks.

Each talk was attended by over 500 members of the public and each talk has been shown multiple times on the UO public access TV station, which reaches across the state, as well as being available for download on the UO website. This is the highest impact outreach event in which the program has participated in the last nine years. It was a huge success.

Address Goals

Public lectures at the University of Oregon were shown on television on the University of Oregon channel and later made available as streaming video. A full listing of participants and streaming video can be found here:

The series expands the scientific literacy of citizens by covering topics including the evolution of cooperation and society, the evolution of molecular complexity and the interaction between evolution and religion.

Modern science, particularly molecular biology and breakthroughs in genetic research, not only benefit from the groundwork Darwin laid, but also create new understandings and new applications for the theory of evolution. The celebration of Darwin’s work is really about looking back through the lens of what we know today and examining its applicability to life in the 21st century.