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Synthesizing science, history and literature

MIDDLEBURY — Award-winning scientist, author and educator Sean B. Carroll will give a one-hour lecture on Thursday, Nov. 14, titled “Brave Genius: A Scientist’s Journey from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize.” The event, targeted to a general audience, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium at Middlebury College.
Carroll, vice president for science education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will chronicle the adventures of Jacques Monod, a co-founder of molecular biology, from the dark years of the German occupation of Paris to the heights of the Nobel Prize, his friendship with the great writer Albert Camus, and his emergence as a public figure, and leading voice of science. The lecture will be a synthesis of science, history and literature. Carroll will also deal with denialism of two of the biggest ideas in biology, as effectively confronted by the lead character, Monod.
Carroll will also lead an extended Q&A-style seminar on “Endless Forms Most Beautiful: Evo Devo and a New Evolutionary Synthesis” at 4:30 p.m. in Room 216 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall. The field has learned a great deal in the past 25 years about genes and development that bear on the understanding of how animal forms evolve. Discussion will focus on how science can now integrate this knowledge of developmental genetics into an expanding evolutionary synthesis. Both talks are free and open to the public.
Carroll is also professor of molecular biology and genetics at the University of Wisconsin. He is a leader in the field of evolutionary developmental biology, or “evo-devo,” the study of the genes that control animal body patterns and play major roles in the evolution of animal diversity.
Carroll is the author of several books, including “Brave Genius: A Scientist, A Philosopher, and their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize” (2013); “Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species” (2009), which was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award for nonfiction; “The Making of the Fittest” (2006); and “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” (2005). He also writes a regular column for The New York Times Science Times.
His honors include the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences (2012), election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Stephen Jay Gould Prize for the advancement of the public understanding of evolution, and the Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of Biology Teachers.
Carroll’s visit is sponsored by Middlebury College Biology Department, Academic Enrichment Fund, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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