May 1, 2013. Evolution can be a hot topic. Dr. Jerry A. Coyne from the University of Chicago will present facts about the science of evolution May 2 at Appalachian State University. His talk, “Why evolution is true and why Americans deny it,” will begin at 7 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union’s Blue Ridge Ballroom. The public is invited.
Coyne’s talk is sponsored by the External Grants Program of the University Forum Committee, the departments of biology, geology and philosophy and religion, and by Ricochet Creative Productions LLC.
Coyne is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a member of the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology.
His work focuses on understanding the origin of species: the evolutionary process that produces discrete groups in nature. To do this, he uses a variety of genetic analyses to locate and identify the genes that produce reproductive barriers between distinct species of the fruit fly Drosophila – barriers like hybrid sterility, ecological differentiation, and mate discrimination.
Through finding patterns in the location and action of such genes, he hopes to work out the evolutionary processes that originally produced genetic change, and to determine whether different pairs of species may show similar genetic patterns, implying similar routes to speciation.
Coyne has written more than 110 refereed scientific papers and more than 80 other articles, book reviews and columns, as well as a scholarly book about his field and a popular book about the evidence for evolution, “Why Evolution is True.” The book was named one of Newsweek’s “50 books for our time.”
He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement and other popular periodicals. Coyne has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007.