Darwin Week offers science-based activities for all

National Darwin Week is underway at Mississippi State with a series of daily events celebrating scientific diversity.

The university’s fifth-annual recognition of 19th century English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin (1809-82) is designed to provide “a great time for everyone to get excited about biology,” said geology instructor Amy Moe-Hoffman.

A coordinator of the events who also is collections manager for the geosciences department’s Dunn-Seiler Museum, Moe-Hoffman said all campus activities are free and open to all.

The schedule includes:

-- Monday [the 13th], a 4 p.m. tea-time program in 314 Harned Hall. Titled “Unconscious Bias: How Race and Gender Can Affect Your Success in Science,” the event will be led by Rima D. Lucardi, a 2012 MSU biological sciences doctoral graduate now serving as a research entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Research Station.

-- Tuesday [the 14th], Lucardi returns for a noon brown-bag lunch discussion in 314 Harned Hall titled “Hitchhiking Around the World: Invasive Plants in the South and How They Got Here.”

-- Wednesday [the 15th], a silent auction and other activities under the theme “Science Night at the Museum” will benefit libraries of the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District. Taking place 5:30-7:30 p.m. in both Hilbun Hall and the nearby Cobb Institute of Archaeology, the event additionally features music by Bill Cooke, a well-known local entertainer and MSU geosciences department head, as well as various science demonstrations and museum exhibits. Auction bidding closes at 7:15 p.m.

-- Thursday [the 16th], “Afternoon in the Cobb Institute,” a series of world archaeology displays to be followed at 6 p.m. with a screening in 102 Harned of “Gorillas In the Mist,” the 1988 Academy Award-nominated movie starring actress Sigourney Weaver as naturalist Dian Fossey. Afterwards, Patricia G. Parker, a University of Missouri-St. Louis professor and senior scientist at the St. Louis Zoo, leads a discussion on Hollywood’s portrayal of women scientists. Parker and the movie are co-sponsored by the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women.

-- Friday [the 17th], Parker is back for a 10 a.m. presentation in 314 Harned titled “Women in Science.” Following nearby at noon will be a brown-bag lunch program in 304 Hilbun Hall titled “Studying Ancient Seas and Tales of Predation in the Fossil Record” that features Christy Visaggi, a marine biology doctoral graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

-- Saturday [the 18th], a dodge ball tournament dubbed “Only the Fit Will Survive” begins at 9 a.m. at the Sanderson Center’s racquetball courts. Six-person teams must register by Wednesday [the 15th] by emailing cjs815@msstate.edu. A $30 registration fee is required.

For more information about Darwin Week at MSU, contact Moe-Hoffman at 662-325-3915 or apm105@msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Addison Arledge | Public Affairs

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