The year 2009 marked two significant milestones in scientific history—the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal Origin of Species. Since 2003, Duquesne University has honored Darwin’s legacy with an annual lecture. The goal of the expanded, city-wide Darwin Celebration in 2009 was to further advance science education throughout the region.
Duquesne University provided the leadership for a partnership with several of the museums and cultural institutions of Pittsburgh to mark these important dates with special events, activities, displays and teaching resources. Our aim was to improve the public understanding of Charles Darwin the man and his seminal ideas that form the fundamental principals that are the basis for all of modern biology and medicine.
Past activities included:
- A Synthetic Darwin Interview display created by Duquesne University in partnership with the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center, now housed as a permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center;
- Weekly talks that presented the scientific evidence supporting evolution as a scientific fact at Duquesne University and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the spring of 2009;
- Six additional evening public lectures during the spring of 2009 that discussed the broader impacts of the idea of evolution on areas as religion, politics, psychology, and human identity;
- Various displays that honor Darwin and discussed relevant fundamental principals of modern biology were developed for a number of Pittsburgh Institutions;
- A production of George Bernard Shaw’s play “The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles” by the Duquesne University Red Masquers (www.dutheaterarts.com );
- Curriculum development in evolution for elementary and middle schoolers as well as teacher training that was and continues to be coordinated with each of the other institutions and activities listed above (www.sepa.duq.edu/education ).