24.04.2009 -

‘Darwin200’ Symposium and UNESCO-BRESCE Associated Events

UNESCOVENICE Media Advisory (Venice) 22/4/2009 :

Under the auspices of UNESCO, a series of international scientific symposia are taking place worldwide during the year 2009. These symposia organized by the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), will mark the bicentennial anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication his book The Origin of Species.* Generally entitled, ‘Darwin 200’, the symposia will highlight how Darwin’s scientific theories have contributed to the development or perhaps the "evolution" of biology and the diffusion of scientific knowledge. Although Darwin’s theories were first considered heretic, they have evolved during the last 200 years to become an important part of natural sciences, particularly biology and thus opened the frontiers to modern day genomic studies and discoveries.

The ‘Darwin 200’ symposia will take place in New Zealand, Italy, China, Uruguay, South Africa, Japan and Costa Rica and will focus on various aspects of evolution: human evolution, marine genomics, and biodiversity. The major European event will be entitled "Basic Issues in Evolution" and will take place in Venice, Italy, from 2 until 4 May 2009, at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti. Guest speakers will include Nobel Prize Laureates (Werner Arber-Medicine 1978; Christian de Duve-Medicine 1974; Rita Levi Montalcini-Medicine 1986; James D. Watson-Medicine 1962), as well as Balzan Prize winners (Walter Gehring-2002) and other international experts of the contemporary scientific community. Keynote presentations will also be made by Walter Erdelen, Assistant Director-General of Natural Sciences of UNESCO and John Buckeridge, President of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS).

Prior and in parallel with the ‘Darwin200’ Symposium (from 27 April to 4 May 2009), the UNESCO Office in Venice-UNESCO Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (BRESCE) is pleased to announce the organisation and hosting at Palazzo Zorzi (in Venice) of several important events associated to the "Basic Issues in Evolution" Symposium. The main objective of these events is to ‘open’ the ‘Darwin 200’ celebration to the public at large and in particular to young scientists by providing an opportunity to visit events such as scientific "evolution" displays, mini conferences, and interact with experts through a virtual "web" participation session.

The “Darwin and Modern Science” exhibition is jointly organized in collaboration with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics “Abdus Salam” (Trieste); Zoic s.r.l.; the Natural History Museum of Trieste; the University of Trieste; Sincrotrone Trieste, and the National Academy of Sciences of Mongolia and is hosted a UNESCO-BRESCE in Venice.

The exhibit will include evolution displays of artefacts from the Stone Age such as hominid skulls and dinosaur eggs; a replica of a dinosaur and information on climate evolution. The inauguration of this exhibit will follow the press conference convened on Monday 27 April 2009 at 2:30 pm in the presence of Engelbert Ruoss, Director UNESCO-BRESCE, Claudio Tuniz, Assistant Director of ICTP (Trieste) and Giorgio Bernardi, Vice-President of IUBS.

On Wednesday 29 April 2009 from 3:30 pm until 6 pm, guest speakers from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the University of Trieste will deliver mini conferences in Italian on the theme of "Darwin, Evolution and Science".

On Monday 4 May 2009 at 3:30 pm, a web participation link will be established between students from European Universities and invited experts of the ‘Darwin200’ Symposium. Interested students should submit their questions on basic science issues via email (no later than 30 April 2009) to the following address: veniceoffice(at)unesco.org

From 15 May to 11 June 2009, a photographic exhibition entitled "Evolving landscapes, Biosphere Reserves goods and services", supported by the Landscape Management Institute of the Forest and Environmental Sciences at the University of Freiburg in Germany will also be hosted at UNESCO-BRESCE.

All the events are open to the public and for school visits. The exhibitions will be opened daily (Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm). Schools are kindly requested to call UNESCO-BRESCE (tel. 041-260-1511) to reserve their visits. For additional details about UNESCO-BRESCE's ‘Darwin200’ associated events and the web discussion forum, please contact: Ms Rosanna Santesso email: r.santesso@unesco.org ; Ms Anne Ajoux email: a.ajoux@unesco.org. Detailed information is also available at www.unesco.org/venice and http://www.istitutoveneto.it/evolution/

Author(s): UNESCO Venice Media Advisory N° 2009 - 05 Source: UNESCOVENICE PRESS 22/04/2009


The most commonly recognized memorial to Charles Darwin is the Galapagos Islands. His visit to the Islands was inspirational in developing his theory of evolution. Due to its unique biological diversity, UNESCO recognizes the Galapagos Islands as a World Heritage Site since 1978 and the Galapagos National Park (Ecuador) has been a part of UNESCO's global network of biosphere reserves since 1984.  

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