The speaker is Robert M. Hazen, a scientist and author from the Carnegie Institute of Washington, who will explore the concept of evolution in many diverse contexts, not just biological (Darwinian) evolution by natural selection. Hazen will compare evolution in everything from the development of language and progress in culture and the arts, to the formation of chemical elements in stars following the Big Bang and diversification of minerals on Earth-like planets. The similarities and differences among these systems underscore general principles of emergent complexity and underscore the power and plausibility of biological evolution.
Hazen is author of 350 scientific articles and 20 books, including Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origin, and he frequently presents science to nonscientists through radio, television, public lectures and video courses. Hazen's recent research focuses on the role of minerals in the origin of life. The mineral hazenite, which is precipitated by microbes in the highly alkaline Mono Lake in California, is named after him.
The event is part of a free community lecture series sponsored by MSU's NASA-funded Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center. Admission is free.