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Vol. LXI, No. 3
February 6, 2009

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A Year of Events
‘Evolution Revolution 2009’ Celebrates Darwin’s Birth, Book

Photo of a seal
This photo by Dr. Eric Green, director of NHGRI’s Division of Intramural Research, is part of the Galapagos photo exhibit on display now in the Clinical Center.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his masterwork, On the Origin of Species. The book famously introduced the concept of evolution by natural selection, the principle that has organized the study of biology ever since.

A series of events at NIH, collectively called Evolution Revolution, will commemorate these anniversaries and highlight the importance of evolution in current studies of biology and medicine.

The celebration is designed to engage everyone from intramural scientists to the public and young students. Events will include lectures, exhibits, performances and publications.

For Thursday, Feb. 12, Darwin’s birthday, NHGRI is arranging a morning symposium on evolution to be held at Masur Auditorium and an afternoon of lectures for the public and high school students at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Now through Feb. 26, the Clinical Center is featuring photographs of the Galapagos Islands, where Darwin conducted fieldwork and developed key insights. Some of the photographs, which are displayed in the East Gallery and East Alcove Gallery, are the work of NIH employees, patients or grantees.

The National Library of Medicine and the Office of NIH History have prepared an exhibit on Darwin and the rise of evolutionary theory that will be displayed for much of the year in Bldg. 38, starting Feb. 9. There will also be a parallel traveling exhibit.

NIH and the National Academy of Sciences are also co-sponsoring the Evolution and Medicine Lecture series. In these free, public lectures, scientists describe how evolution applies to their area of expertise. The first lecture will be Feb. 9.

Several existing series and publications are also expected to feature evolutionary themes during 2009. For example, the NIGMS electronic newsletter Biomedical Beat and magazine Findings have special issues dedicated to evolutionary biology.

The multifaceted activities at or around campus are also expected to include a juried multimedia art exhibit at the Clinical Center, a play by the Underground Railway Theater of Cambridge, Mass., a possible performance by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and the showing of one or more films with an evolutionary theme in the Science in the Cinema film series.

The National Library of Medicine plans a 7-week film series in September and October showing movies and television programs that have imaginatively responded to the implications of evolutionary theory.

For students and teachers nationwide, the Office of Science Education is preparing a curriculum supplement on evolution that will be available in 2010.

The full range of Evolution Revolution events and activities will be posted at

NIH’s events are part of an international celebration of Darwin’s life and work. Universities, libraries, museums and others throughout the world are planning a wide range of activities in honor of Darwin Day on Feb. 12. See for an overview. NIHRecord Icon

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