The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


SMU celebrates Darwin’s birthday, legacy

SMU will celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin on Feb. 12. The birth of the scientist will be commemorated by more than just a slice of birthday cake on campus.

Thursday evening’s event is part of a year-long series that SMU is having for Darwin, “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas that Shape Our World.”

While many people may not consider Darwin’s importance in their every-day lives, he is valued in almost every biological research, according to Dr. Pia Vogel, who is a central figure in planning the series.

“If you don’t understand Darwin’s theory, you don’t understand what it is we do,” she said. “It is the basis of all we do.”

For example, when a disease needs to be studied, the research cannot take place on a living human being. However, research can be done on a living worm, which Darwin proved to at the very least be related to the humans.

Not just science professors will appreciate the night’s festivities. According to Vogel, almost every school on campus is participating. Only lacking the Lyle School of Engineering and Cox School of Business, the series is stronger than expected.

“We really got such a great response,” she said. The idea of getting support from all schools on campus represents the importance of Darwin’s theory and how it can affect anyone’s study, not only those in the science departments.

The events for the day begin at 4 p.m. with birthday cake in Dallas Hall. Faculty members and graduate students will give testimonies on Darwin’s influence on their personal research.

According to SMU’s Website, the university will host one of their lectures planned for the year at 5 p.m. on Thursday. Dr. Fred Grinell, professor of biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center will speak in McCord Auditorium about “Everyday practice of science: Where intuition and passion meet objectivity and logic.”

Just 30 minutes later, guests can watch Inherit the Wind in Greer Garson Theater. The original 1960 film about the real case concerning the crime of a teacher teaching evolution is being shown by the Department of Cinema and Television in the Meadows School of the Arts.

The idea of having a year-long celebration for one man’s birth was inspired by the impressive Darwin books in the DeGolyer Library on campus. According to Vogel, the university has much to offer on Darwin that is not advertised, leaving the average student with no idea about it.

Vogel is doing her best “trying to get everyone to bring things out to exhibit” to the rest of the campus.

Thursday will be the second day of events for the series, with other events through February of next year. The next big occasion will be on Feb. 20 when former Dominican priest Francisco Ayala will speak.

This is just one of the ways the campus is managing to include all points of view on Darwin’s theory in the series.

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