Darwin Synthetic Interview

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Darwin Synthetic Interview is a patented technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. The system allows people to ask questions of a historical figure, and receive answers from a videotaped actor portraying that individual.

Pittsburgh’s synthetic Darwin will be housed as a new “permanent” exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center. Questions to be answered by Darwin have been compiled through more than 1,000 interviews with students in local elementary, middle and high schools, and adults throughout Pittsburgh. More than 500 inquiries were collected and distilled into the 199 most frequently asked questions. 

Shots from the movie

Actor Randy Kovitz is transformed into Charles R. Darwin, at age 50 the year he published "On The Origin of the Species". (Photo by Deborah Hosking)

The Synthetic Interview at the Carnegie Science Center

Answers to these questions in Darwin’s own words are drawn from a considerable body of knowledge, including
his books, autobiography, and the thousands of digitized letters available through the Darwin Correspondence
Project. Answers will cover all aspects of his life -
childhood, marriage and family; travels and science;
religion and philosophy.

The trailer that shows the process of making the actor look like Darwin.


Since Darwin died over 126 years ago, and a lot of scientific evidence has continuously confirmed the principles of evolution. To bring this to light, the Synthetic Interview with Mr. Darwin includes the opportunity to hear from 13 modern experts including scientists, paleontologists, philosophers, theologians, clergy, and lawyers.

Children and adults who interact with the Synthetic Darwin will come away knowing more about the man, his work and the legacy of his science.

Darwin's tree
Darwin Synthetic Interview
Mock-Up 1
Darwin's tree
Darwin Synthetic Interview: screen and touch interface

Darwin's tree
Darwin Synthetic Interview
Mock-Up 1

More Darwin Synthetic Interview Photos »

Bring this innovative learning tool to your school or museum!
Please contact John Pollock at pollock@duq.edu.

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Darwin 2009: Exploration is Never Extinct!Presented by Regenerative Medicine Partnership in Education.

Darwin 2009 at Duquesne University

Why is Duquesne University leading Darwin 2009? More Info »

A Q &A with the star of the Darwin Synthetic Interview, Randy Kovitz

The Darwin Synthetic Interview couldn’t exist without someone to bring Darwin to life. Actor Randy Kovitz undertook this task. He has done theater, television and film in New York, Los Angeles and, most recently, Pittsburgh during his 30 year career.

Read what he has to say about the project »