Evolution bulletin – February 2009

Evolution Festival

Charles Darwin’s birthday-12 February-is almost upon us. Tickets for the party are still available.

I’m writing to tell you about the evolution events happening in February  and to ask that if you are running an event celebrating Darwin and Evolution, to register it on the evolution festival website www.evolutionaustralia.org.au.

This is the first of series of email bulletins we’ll send to people running evolution events or with an interest in evolution.

The Melbourne celebrations kick off with a church service this Sunday, followed by a conference, a series of free public lectures, and Darwin’s birthday party at Melbourne Museum next Thursday 12 February.

In Sydney, Steve Jones speaks about the end of human evolution at a free lecture tomorrow. He’s also talking in Melbourne on Sunday 8 and Monday 9 February. Michael Ruse will talk about whether Darwinism has passed its “sell by” date in Melbourne on Tuesday 10 February and in Sydney on Tuesday 17 February.

The major Darwin exhibition continues at the National Museum in Canberra to March.

And there are another 40 or so events on in February and March. Some of these are promoted in adverts kindly supplied by New Scientist and Cosmos. We also acknowledge the generous support of Science Minister Carr through the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science & Research; the State Government of Victoria; and the University of Melbourne. Together they are supporting the national promotion and branding of evolution events.

If you are running a Darwin-related event please register it at our website so we can include it in future bulletins and promotions.

Kind regards,

Niall Byrne,

On behalf of Phil Batterham and the Evolution Festival.


Celebrating Darwin at Saint Paul’s – Sunday 8 Feb

Eat your way through 4 billion years of evolution – Thursday 12 Feb

Darwin and: the Big bang, human history, disease and financial crisis – free public lectures, Melbourne

Dining with Darwin, Darwinism and human evolution – Sydney

More events around Australia

Celebrating Darwin at Saint Paul’s – Sunday 8 Feb

A church service is probably the last thing you would expect to kick off a year-long celebration of evolution-but that’s exactly what’s happening at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne at 2 pm on Sunday 8 February.

Entitled Science and Faith: the Intersection the service will be the first official event of Evolution – the Festival, a public celebration of 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin and 150 years since the publication of the book in which he set out his theory of evolution by natural selection, On the Origin of Species.

2009 is also the International Year of Astronomy, celebrating 400 years since Galileo first pointed a telescope at the sky.

All are welcome at the service, says its organiser, the Dean of St Paul’s, the Right Revd Dr Mark Burton. There will be something for everyone.

As well as the discussion of science and faith, the service will include the unveiling of a new work by performance poet, Cameron Semmens and incorporate singing by popular entertainer Richard Thomas. In addition, there will be a small display which will include two Aboriginal paintings of the origin of life and a first edition of Darwin’s book.

Eat your way through 4 billion years of evolution – Thursday 12 Feb

Melbourne will host a unique dinner to celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday on 12 February at Melbourne Museum.

Guests will eat their way through the evolutionary tree – from primordial soup through the first life on Earth to the mammals.

The menu was developed by John Long, one of Australia’s leading palaeontologists and head of science at Melbourne Museum.

The birthday party is open to the public and will include evolution-themed entertainment.

Details and bookings at http://www.evolution09.com.au/festival-dinner.php

Media release at http://www.scienceinpublic.com/blog/?p=55

Darwin and: the Big bang, human history, disease and financial crisis – free public lectures, Melbourne

A series of free public lectures is being held at the Melbourne Convention Centre. A host of Australian and international speakers will talk on topics including the use of DNA to map out human history, the impact of evolution on music and culture, cattle dogs, climate change and the global financial crisis.

  • Charles Darwin in Australia – Frank Nicholas, 8 February 4pm
  • Big Bang to Big Bust! Evolution from Start to Finish – Brian Schmidt, Steve Jones and David Karoly, 8 February 6pm
  • Tracing 100,000 years of human history with DNA – Marcus Feldman, 9 February 6pm
  • Darwin’s impact on the arts in Australia – Ted Gott, Jeanette Hoorn, and Amelia Scurry, 9 February 6pm
  • Darwin’s Ventriloquists – Jon Marks, 9 February 7pm
  • Is human evolution over? – Steve Jones, 9 February 8pm
  • What can dogs tell us about evolution – Bill Ballard and Taz, 10 February 6pm
  • Has Darwinism passed its “sell by” date?Reflections on the Origin of Species at 150 years – Michael Ruse, 10 February 6pm
  • Responding to global climate change – Tim Flannery, Michael Kearney, Lynda Chambers, 10 February 7.30pm
  • Dinosaurs and the Hobbit – Robert Bakker and Bert Roberts, 11 February 5pm
  • How can evolution help us to understand and prevent disease? – Randolph Nesse, 11 February 6pm
  • Darwin and the global financial crisis: the evolutionary psychology of conspicuous consumption – Geoffrey Miller, 11 February 7pm
  • Music, Society and Evolution – Alan Harvey, 11 February 8pm

Also in Melbourne: films at ACMI; tours and events at the Botanic Gardens; writers at the Convent; a quest to find the founders and survivors of Tasmanian convicts; a public forum on climate change; exhibitions at Melbourne Museum and the State Library – full details on the web.

Dining with Darwin, Darwinism and human evolution – Sydney

In Sydney, events include public talks, a birthday dinner, launches and discussions.

  • Is human evolution over? – Steve Jones, 5 February 6.30pm
  • Evolution dinner: Dining with Darwin at the Pavilion Restaurant, Sydney. Jennifer Byrne comperes a lively discussion with experts Clive Hamilton, Hugh Possingham and Nicole Kuepper, 11 February 6.30pm
  • Is Darwinism past its “sell by” date? Reflections on the Origin of Species at 150 years – Michael Ruse, 17 February 6.30pm

Also, coming up in March:

  • Exhibition: Charles Darwin – voyages and ideas that shook the world, at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, 20 March – 23 August

We have found some additional Sydney events that are not yet listed on the evolution website, so you’ll have to google these:

  • Dennis Dutton in a tribute to Darwin and the launch of his new book The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution – 12 February 5.45pm
  • Tim Entwhistle and scientists of the Botanic Gardens Trust celebrate Darwin’s birthday with cupcakes at the launch of a new landscape installation (which stays open until 24 November) reflecting our understanding of biodiversity and evolution – 12 February 10.30am
  • Discussion and video to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth at the Humanist Society of NSW – 8 March 4pm

More events around Australia


  • Exhibition: Charles Darwin – the reluctant revolutionary, at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane, 12 February – 31 December
  • Darwin Day celebration film night with a showing of the docudrama ‘Flock of Dodos – the evolution – intelligent design circus’ – 12 February (this one is also not on the website, please google it)

Northern Territory

  • Exhibition: Supercrocodilians – Darwin’s ultimate survival story, at the Flinders Gallery, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, 12 February – 29 November
  • Find your inner fish – a talk by Ranger Mark Carter at Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Alice Springs (this one is also not on the website, please google it)


  • Charles Darwin Symposium, National Museum of Australia – 26 February
  • Exhibition: Generate – an exhibition by Julie Ryder at the Australian National Botanic Gardens – until 26 March
  • Exhibitions: Darwin, and an accompanying exhibition Darwin and Australia, at the National Museum of Australia – until 29 March

Other NSW

  • Flock of Dodos: film and discussion for high school teachers and students, hosted by Charles Sturt University, in both Albury and Wagga Wagga – 10 February

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