Montana State University

MSU evolution lecture now available as free podcast

October 26, 2011

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BOZEMAN --A public talk by visiting scientist Robert M. Hazen is now available as an online video podcast. Hazen, of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, presented on Sept. 1, 2011 at the Museum of the Rockies. The event was part of the Community Lecture Series sponsored by Montana State University's Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center.

In his talk, "From the Big Bang to Broadway: How Things Evolve," Hazen explored the concept of evolution in many diverse contexts, not just biological (Darwinian) evolution by natural selection. Hazen compared 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. He explained how the similarities and differences among these systems demonstrate 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.

View the podcast, along with previous astrobiology-related talks from the Community Lecture Series, at http://abrc.montana.edu/outreach/lecture.html

Suzi Taylor, MSU Extended University, (406) 994-7957 or taylor@montana.edu