Butler University’s fall 2014 J. James Woods Lectures in the Sciences and Mathematics presents genome authority John Dupré on November 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Atherton Union Reilly Room.
Dupré will be followed by Isaac Newton expert William Dunham on December 2.
The lectures are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9657.
More about each event follows.
Dupré will briefly sketch the history of the gene concept from the heyday of Mendelian genetics in the early 20th century through the landmark discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick in 1953 through the Human Genome Project to the contemporary concept of the genome. He will explain how current understanding of genomes has displaced or marginalized traditional and still widely held interpretations of genes as the causes of particular features of organisms, and he will show how increasingly dynamic understandings of the genome are undermining and supplanting still popular ideas of the genome as a blueprint or a program.
Dupré has held posts at Oxford, Stanford, and Birkbeck College, London. His publications include The Disorder of Things (Harvard 1993), Human Nature and the Limits of Science (Oxford 2001), Humans and Other Animals (Oxford 2002), and Processes of Life (Oxford 2012). He is a former President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Almost 50 years ago, Cambridge University Press published the correspondence of Isaac Newton, a seven-volume, 3000-page collection of letters that provide insight into this great, if difficult, genius. In this talk, Dunham shares his favorite examples of Newton as correspondent. From his earliest known letter in 1661 (where he scolded a friend for being drunk), through exchanges with Leibniz, Locke, and others, to documents from his days at the Mint in London, these writings give glimpses of Newton at his best … and his worst.
Dunham has written four books: Journey Through Genius; The Mathematical Universe; Euler: The Master of Us All; and The Calculus Gallery. He is also featured in the Teaching Company’s DVD course “Great Thinkers, Great Theorems.”
Last year, Dunham retired after 22 years as the Koehler Professor of Mathematics at Muhlenberg College. In fall 2008 and again in spring 2013, Dunham was a visiting professor at Harvard University, where he taught a course on the mathematics of Leonhard Euler, and he held a visiting appointment at Princeton University in spring 2014. Currently he is a visitor at the University of Pennsylvania and serves as the Mathematical Association of America’s George Pólya Lecturer.