Biology department marks 150th anniversary of "Origin of Species"

Biology department marks 150th anniversary of "Origin of Species"
February 3, 2009

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Robert Darwin (b. February 12, 1809) and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book, “The Origin of Species.” Scientists all over the world will be celebrating the Darwin bicentennial throughout the year. The Department of Biology at Benedictine University will celebrate “Darwin Day” on Friday, February 13 with a number of events including a symposium in two sessions, student posters displayed in the Birck Hall of Science and exhibits in the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum. The first session of the symposium from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in the Tellabs Lecture Hall (Birck Hall Room 112) will feature five 20-minute presentations by Benedictine faculty members. Al Martin, Ph.D., will present “Darwin, His Life and Work” from 9:00-9:20 a.m.; Robin Rylaarsdam, Ph.D., will present “Evolutionary Insights into Medical Problems” from 9:25-9:45 a.m.; Preston Aldrich, Ph.D., will present “Natural Selection and Genomics” from 9:50-10:10 a.m.; Laura Gruss, Ph.D., will offer “New Discoveries About Human Evolution” from 10:15-10:35 a.m.; and Cheryl Heinz, Ph.D., will present “Plant Animal Co-Evolution” from 10:40-11:00 a.m. The session will also include a 20-minute question-and-answer period followed by the “Darwin Day Challenge,” a quiz show conducted by members of the Beta Beta Beta (Tri Beta) National Biological Honor Society. John Wagner, Ph.D., a biologist at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, will assume the role of Charles Darwin, fielding questions and leading a discussion during the second session of the symposium from 1:00-2:45 p.m. in the Tellabs Lecture Hall. The daylong celebration will conclude with a discussion of issues related to Darwin and theology that would be of interest to Catholics from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in Rooms A and B of the Krasa Student Center. For more information about “Darwin Day,” contact the Benedictine University Department of Biology at (630) 829-6563.


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.