15.10.2009 -

Interview with Claudio Tuniz in A World of SCIENCE. A Darwin 200 follow-up

UNESCOVENICE News 3/07/2009 : The Natural Sciences Quarterly Newsletter A World of Science just published an interview of Claudio Tuniz, nuclear physicist from UNESCO Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics.

In the article entitled "Out of Africa" Tuniz explains how new chronometers and x-ray microscopes developed through research in basic physics are helping to trace human evolution and dispersal over the past 2 million years. The questions asked ( Where do we come from? How did human beings disperse? What role does physics play in the study of human evolution and dispersal?) relate to Tuniz's recent participation and organising role in a series of symposia and an exhibition of Basic Issues in Evolution , as part of celebrations commemorating the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth organized in Venice (Italy) over April - June 2009 by UNESCO and the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), with the contribution of the Istituto Veneto and ICTP Trieste.

A World of Science Vol. 7, No. 3 Excerpt: Out of Africa, pages 15-17

Evidence is mounting that we all hail from Africa. But when did this migration of anatomically modern humans begin? How long did it take for them to reach all corners of the earth? And what do we know of our ancestors’ way of life and their impact on the environment?

Nuclear physicist Claudio Tuniz has been studying these questions for many years, most recently in his capacity as Assistant Director of UNESCO’s Abdus salam International centre for theoretical Physics (ICTP) in trieste. At first glance, the link between physics and human evolution is not obvious. Yet, the tools of modern physics can date human evolution and dispersal accurately. Prof. Tuniz has gone from using particle accelerators to measure the age of meteorites and lunar rocks to using them to pinpoint the age of human bones and teeth.

On 29 April, he was in Venice to describe how the latest developments in physics are being used to study evolution, on the eve of UNESCO’s symposium on Darwin, Evolution and Science. Prof. tuniz is also commemorating ‘the Darwin year’ with The Bone Readers, a book he has just published with co-authors richard Gillespie and cheryl Jones; it chronicles the science, political debates and cultural sensitivities surrounding the study of the origin of Australian Aborigines.

related links:Associated events of BASIC ISSUES IN EVOLUTION. A Darwin 200 Symposium, 2-4 May 2009 (Venice, Italy) include :

Exhibition. 27 April - 14 May 2009. Palazzo Zorzi
Seminars. 29 April 2009. Palazzo Zorzi
Seminar. 7 May 2009, Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Palazzo Franchetti
Photo exhibit. 15 May - 12 June 2009. Palazzo Zorzi

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