Back from the European snow – Darwin day celebration at Stanford

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I am back from a long trip in Europe where I visited my collaborators at the IMCCE and at the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon. I took a few days of vacations in the northern part of Moravia to enjoy the snow, see my inlaws and my family and teach skiing to my kids. I am back since Monday night, and obviouly I am completely jet-lagged. So the post today will be short and most informative for the people living in the Bay Area

You may remember that on one of my first post, I mentioned the remarkable work of Charles Darwin and how he based most of his controversial conclusion on careful observations of a broad diversity of animals and plants.

In honor of his 201 anniversary the Department of Anthropology at the Stanford University is organizing a symposium, opened to the public and free, on Saturday February 7. Robert Siegel, MD, PhD and William Durham PhD put together a series of short, but interesting, lectures on topics related to evolution and Darwin. Find below the list of speakers and their talks. Some logistical details can be found on the following web site.

Session 1 – William Durham – moderator

  • 1:00 Welcome & Introduction - Bill Durham
  • 1:10 “A Short History of Darwin Day” - Bob Stephens
  • 1:20 “A Darwinian approach to the origins of human bipedality” - Jason Lewis, Michael Needle & Janet Monge
  • 1:40 “How 1 became 14: The adaptive radiation of Darwin’s finches” – Andrew Schein
  • 2:00 “Flightlessness in Insects: What Darwin Didn’t Know” – Jenny Rempel
  • 2:20 “Eradicating introduced feral mammals in the Galapagos” – Sam Cohen-Tanugi
  • 2:40 “The Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) - evolutionary considerations – Robert Siegel
  • 3:00 Refreshments, Book Table, Mingling

Session 2 – Robert Siegel – moderator
  • 3:20 “Charles Darwin’s Tree of Life as Image, Metaphor and Model” – Greg Priest
  • 3:40 “The Darwin Safari: Revisited” – Becca Tisdale, Josh Wong (and Anne Stake in absentia)
  • 4:10 “Constructive extensions of evolution to social systems” – Marc Feldman
  • 4:30 “3.5 til infinity” – Tom McFadden & the Biorappers
  • 4:40 “Viruses and bacterial immunity via CRISPRs – why would  Darwin care” – Devaki Bhaya
  • 5:00 “Charles Darwin – the true story” – John van Wyhe
  • 5:30 “The irReverend Eustace Paluxy Tells It All”

That’s all for today. I am too tired to write more unfortunately. Tomorrow I will try to write a longer post to discuss the result of my hunt for funding which was very unsuccessful in 2009 and the prospect for 2010 and beyond considering the proposed budget by the Obama administration.

More soon…


About Franck Marchis

Dr. Franck Marchis is a Senior Researcher and Chair of the Exoplanet Group at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute since July 2007. Over the past 19 years, he has dedicated his research to the study of our solar system, specifically the search for asteroids with moons, using mainly ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. More recently, he has been also involved in the definition of new generation of AOs for 8 -10 m class telescopes and future Extremely Large Telescopes. He has developed algorithms to process and enhance the quality of images, both astronomical and biological. His currently involved in the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey, which consists in imaging exoplanets using an extreme AO system for the Gemini South telescope. This new instrument is capable of imaging and recording spectra of young Jupiter-like exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars.

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