Darwin Festival 2017

The Annual Darwin Festival is Upon Us!

The Week-Long Celebration Begins Monday, February 13th – Friday, February 17th

The Salem State University Darwin Festival SM was started in 1980 by Virginia Keville and Philip DePalma as part of a course in “Human and Social Biology.” The week-long festival honors the extraordinary impact Darwin’s work has had on so many areas of human endeavor. This unique lecture series brings scientists and their research to undergraduates and others in the university and wider community. It is also unusual in incorporating an interdisciplinary approach that brings scholars in the social sciences and humanities to campus as part of the program, stressing the relationship among all areas of academic inquiry. Speakers have been sponsored by departments of chemistry and physics, geography, geological sciences, philosophy, psychology, the student Biological Society, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. 

Want to learn more about Charles Darwin? All his accomplishments and contributions to the sciences? You can find more information here.


All Darwin Festival events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! All events will be held at Salem State University in Vets Hall at the Ellison Campus Center.

For a full list of events you can click here.

If you are interested in attending the festival here are some of the popular events that I would highly recommend trying to attend!


9:30am- “MECHANISTIC MICROBIOME STUDIES IN HEALTH AND DISEASE” – Wendy Garrett, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health, Boston MA. Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.

11:00am- “MARCH OF THE FOSSIL PENGUINS” – Daniel Ksepka, Bruce Museum, Greenwich CT. Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.


10:50am- “MAGNIFICENT MINDS: REMARKABLE WOMEN OF SCIENCE AND MEDICINE” – Pendred Noyce, Tumblehome Learning, Inc. and author. Sponsored by the Salem State chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

1:45pm- “WHY WHALES – WHY SNOTBOT?” – Iain Kerr, Ocean Alliance, Gloucester MA. Sponsored by the Biological Society.


11:00am- “THE HENRIETTA LACKS CASE: THE INTERSECTION OF RACE, SCIENCE AND ETHICS” – Panel Discussion, moderated by Elspeth Slayter, School of Social Work, Salem State University. Sponsored by the SSU Institutional Review Board, Darwin Festival, Working Group on Racial Justice and the School of Social Work.

12:30pm- “RIVER BLINDNESS: THE STORY BEHIND ITS PREVENTION” – William Campbell, Drew University, Madison NJ and 2015 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.

1:45pm- “TRILOBITE EYES AND PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIA” – Thomas Rich, guest lecturer, Salem State University. Sponsored by the Department of Geological Sciences and the Charles Albert Read Trust.


10:50am- “PRACTICAL POLICY APPROACHES TO RIVER FLOOD RESILIENCE IN NEW ENGLAND: WEAVING TOGETHER SCIENCE, GOVERNANCE, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY” – Eve Vogel, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Sponsored by the Geography Department and the Charles Albert Read Trust.

1:45pm- “EVOLVING THE HUMAN MIND” – Alexandra Rosati, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge MA. The Keville-DePalma Founders Lecture.


9:25am- “A SCIENTIST CITIZEN IN THE 21ST CENTURY: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SCIENTIST LEAVES THE COMFORTS OF THE LABORATORY AND VENTURES INTO THE ARENAS OF MEDIA, POLITICS, AND INDUSTRY” – Christopher Reddy, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Woods Hole MA. Sponsored by the Department of Chemistry/Physics and the Charles Albert Read Trust.

12:30pm- “THE FLINT WATER CRISIS: COMMUNICATION SCIENCE AND INFLUENCING PUBLIC DISCOURSE USING SCIENCE” – Joyce Zhu, on behalf of the Flint Water Study Team, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg VA.

1:45pm- “HOW TO BUILD A NEW LIMB FROM OLD CELLS: APPLYING THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM REGENERATING AMPHIBIANS” – Catherine McCusker, Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Boston MA.

For additional information, please contact the biology department at 978.542.6236 or by emailing biology@salemstate.edu.

All information was from the Salem State website and Encyclopedia Britannica.


-FYM Kathryn 




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