The “Evolution of Life: Sex and Other Mergers” will be the subject of an upcoming talk at NJIT by noted University of Massachusetts (UM) scientist and author Lynn Margulis, an expert on the “Gaia” hypothesis. Margulis, who will focus on humankind’s biological evolution, will be the second guest speaker for 2008 at NJIT’s Technology and Society Forum http://tsf.njit.edu. She is a distinguished university professor in the department of geosciences at UM, Amherst.
The “dispensable” nature of our presence on the planet is related to the Gaia hypothesis, according to Margulis. Named after the Greek goddess of the Earth, the concept holds that all the planet’s living and nonliving components constitute a complex interacting system that can be thought of as a single organism. The Gaia hypothesis was initially proposed by the British atmospheric chemist James E. Lovelock.
“It is our reproductive peculiarities within this system that could make the prospect of long-term survival for Homo sapiens so tenuous,” noted Margulis.
The public is invited to the free talk set for March 31, 2008, from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. in the NJIT Campus Center ballroom. Parking should be available on the street or in the NJIT parking garage, located at Summit and Warren streets.
Margulis, who holds a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983 and received the Presidential Medal of Science in 1999. In 1998, the Library of Congress announced that it would permanently archive her papers.
Spanning a range of scientific topics, Margulis’ publications include original contributions to cell biology and microbial evolution. She is also acknowledged for her contributions to the Gaia hypothesis. Among her recent books are Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution and Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species.
NJIT Technology and Society Forum Committee, Albert Dorman Honors College and Sigma Xi are co-sponsors of the event. Upcoming talks include a performance April 2, 2008 by members of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; a performance April 7, 2008 by violinist Rieko Kawabata and a lecture April 30, 2008 by Charles Vest, president, American Academy of Engineering and President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about 21st century engineering education.
NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls more than 9,558 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2011 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Office of Continuing Professional Education.