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Harvard evolutionist named 2020 Charles Darwin Scholar

Professor David Haig

A Harvard University Professor of Biology is Charles Darwin University’s Charles Darwin Scholar for 2020.

Australian-born Professor David Haig, a specialist in evolutionary theory, will present public lectures in the Northern Territory as part of his appointment as the Charles Darwin Scholar.

Professor Haig will arrive in the Northern Territory on 25 May 2020 for a three-week tenure supported by a Fulbright Specialist grant, during which he will deliver Charles Darwin orations in Darwin and Alice Springs.

Charles Darwin University (CDU) Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks made the announcement as the university celebrated the 211th anniversary of the birth of namesake and naturalist Charles Darwin.

“I am delighted that Professor Haig has accepted our invitation to be the Charles Darwin Scholar and look forward to hearing his insights into the legacy of our extraordinary namesake,” Professor Maddocks said.

“Professor Haig has wide-ranging interests from the evolution of plant life cycles to maternal-foetal conflict in human pregnancy and specifically genetic conflicts within organisms as exemplified by genomic imprinting.”

The Charles Darwin Oration will be held at Casuarina campus on 28 May 2020 and at Alice Springs campus on 10 June 2020.

Professor Haig, who was born and educated in Australia, has been at Harvard for more than 25 years where he is the George Putnam Professor of Biology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.

His most recent book, “From Darwin to Derrida: Selfish Genes, Social Selves, and the Meanings of Life”, explores how the meaningless process of natural selection produces purposeful beings who find meaning in the world.

The Charles Darwin Scholar Program is a biennial initiative established in 2013 to amplify CDU’s links to the work and legacy of Charles Darwin.

The university began its Darwin Day celebrations with a presentation by Professor Frank Zachos, head of Mammal Collections at the Natural History Museum in Vienna and Managing Editor of “Mammalian Biology”.

Professor Zachos spoke on the topic “What is a species? Problems and answers in Darwin’s time and today”.

The final act in the Darwin Day celebrations will be the Charles Darwin Black-Tie Dinner at the Double Tree by Hilton Esplanade.

Special guests include ARIA award winning Territorian Emily Wurramara, who will provide the entertainment and technophile and CDU alumnus Dr Mark Englund, who will deliver the keynote speech.

Source: CDU

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