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.
One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.