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Author of `Reluctant Mr. Darwin' to Lecture Feb. 5

Exactly a week before the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, Northwestern's "One Book, One Northwestern" project will present a lecture by author David Quammen.

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January 27, 2009 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Exactly a week before the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, Northwestern University's "One Book, One Northwestern" project will present a lecture by David Quammen, author of "The Reluctant Mr. Darwin."

Quammen will deliver the "One Book, One Northwestern" keynote address at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, in the Ryan Family Auditorium of the Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Quammen's book about Darwin -- arguably the most influential scientist of modern times -- was assigned last summer to all incoming freshmen to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Since then exhibits, classes, lectures, films, and panels about or relating to Darwin, evolution and natural selection have taken place across campus.

In his lecture titled "Darwin Against Himself: Caution versus Honesty in the Life of a Reluctant Revolutionary," Quammen will look at two Darwin characteristics -- his tendency toward caution and his extraordinary intellectual honesty. He will explore how those traits affected Darwin's life, ideas and the "peculiar" 21-year gap between developing the theory of evolution and publishing it in "The Origin of Species."

The selection of "The Reluctant Mr. Darwin" for the One Book project not only commemorates Darwin's 200th birthday but also celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of his landmark "The Origin of Species."

A columnist for Outside magazine from 1981 to 1995, Quammen has written for The New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic and other magazines. He is the Wallace Stegner Chair in Montana State University's department of history and philosophy and the author of several nonfiction books and essay collections.

For further information about the lecture, Darwin or the One Book, One Northwestern program, visit http://www.northwestern.edu/onebook/index.html.