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KNOXVILLE—Charles Darwin, the biologist who changed the way scientists study life on Earth, was born 202 years ago but he maintains a steady presence in biology. Just ahead of his birthday, his life and breakthrough discoveries in evolution will be celebrated February 7–9, on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus.

Gordon Burghardt, joint professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and psychology, dressed as Charles Darwin for the 2009 Darwin Day Events with current Darwin Day coordinator and graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, Jessica Welch.

Darwin Day is a three-day event which includes a teacher’s workshop, film screenings, a T-shirt design contest, information booth, and several talks and lectures.

“The goal of Darwin Day is to promote the understanding of evolution and its importance as a unifying concept in biology,” said ecology and evolutionary biology graduate student and Darwin Day 2012 coordinator Jessica Welch. “To do this, we sponsor many different events in the hopes that there will be a little something for everyone.”

UT alumni and world-renowned evolutionary biologists Rosemary Gillespie from the University of California, Berkeley, and Harry Greene from Cornell University will deliver keynote addresses at 7:00 p.m. on February 8 and 9. The careers of both scientists revolve around Darwin’s central concept of evolution by natural selection, and they will talk about its importance to their research.

“Darwin Day has become an expected and anticipated set of events here at UT that students and the public can rely for provocative lectures and informative workshops concerning evolution,” said Andrew Kramer, professor and head of UT’s anthropology department.

The event is sponsored by Darwin Day Tennessee, a Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology group. The group and the February celebration debuted in 1997, making it the longest-running Darwin Day event in the U.S. It joins other Darwin Day groups across the country to promote the importance of the concept of evolution.

For a schedule of events, visit the website at

C O N T A C T:

Jessica Welch (865-974-6188,

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,