2009 marks milestone in ‘Darwin’s Evolving Legacy’

Charles Darwin, painted by George Richmond, 1830sWhen Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, the way we view the world and our place in it changed. Throughout 2009, SMU will celebrate the 150th anniversary of this seminal book and the 200th birthday of the extraordinary man who wrote it through a series of lectures, exhibits and presentations.

Departments and schools across the University are participating in a coordinated program of events that will address evolution’s contributions under the title “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World.”

“It’s hard to imagine any branch of science that has not been advanced by Charles Darwin’s work,” says Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As the evolution of SMU continues into its second century, it is fitting to recognize the intellectual achievement found in Darwin’s writings.”

Ludden notes that SMU is privileged to hold many early volumes and editions of Darwin’s groundbreaking work in the DeGolyer Library Special Collections that will be displayed during the 150th anniversary of the book’s first publication year.

Evolutionary psychologist David Buss will open the year’s events with a lecture on “The Strategies of Human Mating” from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom. Buss says the very different ways that men and women pursue each other today stem from thousands of years of human evolution. Ancient adaptations were keyed to successful reproduction and survival, he says, but still give rise to jealousy, stalking and even homicide.

A complete list of confirmed events for 2009 is available online. Learn more at the Darwin’s Evolving Legacy website. (Left, Charles Darwin as painted by George Richmond in the 1830s.)