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For Immediate Release: May 14, 2009
Contact: Diana Kenney, MBL, 508-289-7139; dkenney@mbl.edu

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) in his later years. Photo by J. Cameron, 1869.

“Singing His Praises: Darwin in Song and Musical Production” Takes the Stage at the MBL on May 22

Event offers a lighthearted look at Charles Darwin and evolutionary theory in the context of popular culture

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, V. Betty Smocovitis of the University of Florida will present an entertaining multimedia lecture, “Singing His Praises: Darwin in Song and Musical Production,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22, 2009, in Lillie Auditorium, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), MBL Street, Woods Hole. The event, which is sponsored by the MBLWHOI Library, is free and open to the public.

Smocovitis will talk about Darwin, his theory, and its expression in popular culture, from 19th-century musicals to the MTV videos of today. Through audio and video recordings, including historic grammophone and tinfoil records, she will explore a number of issues in the history of evolution pertaining to controversies surrounding Darwin and his theory, all in a lighthearted and engaging manner.

V. Betty Smocovitis of University of Florida, presenter of "Singing His Praises: Darwin in Song and Musical Production."

Cover page of the sheet music for "Too Thin, or Darwin's Little Joke," a song satirizing the Darwinian concept of the descent of man from apes, published in 1874.

Smocovitis is a multidisciplinary scholar who holds a joint appointment in history and zoology at the University of Florida. She will be visiting the MBL as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar. Her research focuses on the history, philosophy and sociology of the 20th-century biological sciences, especially evolutionary biology, systematics, ecology and genetics, as well as the history of American botany.


The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Americas.