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For further information, contact the MBL Communications Office at (508) 289-7423 or e-mail us at comm@mbl.edu

For Immediate Release: July 7, 2009
Contact: Gina Hebert, 508-289-7725; ghebert@mbl.edu

Gerry Weissman

Dr. Gerald Weissmann to Discuss 1860 Oxford Evolution Debate at MBLWHOI Library Talk, July 15

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—Dr. Gerald Weissmann, author, research professor, and director of the Biotechnology Study Center at New York University School of Medicine will discuss an essay from his latest book, Mortal and Immortal DNA: Science and the Lure of Myth (available now from Bellevue Literary Press) at the next MBLWHOI Library Summer Salon Series on Wednesday, July 15 at 4:00 PM in the library’s Grass Reading Room, Lillie Building, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole. The event is free and open to the public.

Admired by Nobel prize-winning scientists and literary tastemakers alike, Dr. Weissmann has been hailed as a masterful commentator on contemporary culture and a transcendent intellectual historian. A book of essays, Mortal and Immortal DNA relates modern science and medicine to the broad themes of the Western canon, from Greek myths to W.H. Auden to a reference or two to Paris Hilton. Using a clever sense of humor and a massive intellectual range of references, Weissmann's writing bridges the widening gap between science and the humanities.

Dr. Weissmann’s talk will focus on the essay "Swiftboating Darwin at the Oxford Monkey Debate,” the famous evolution debate that took place at the Oxford Museum of Natural History on June 30, 1860, seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species.

Dr. Weissmann is a long-time visiting scientist and Trustee of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, and author of eight other books of essays, from The Woods Hole Cantata (1985, Raven Press) to Galileo’s Gout: Science in the Age of Endarkenment (2007, Bellevue Literary Press). His essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including the London Review of Books and The New York Times Book Review. Dr. Weissmann lives in New York City and Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

The MBL WHOI Library Summer Salon Series aims to engage the public in not only the beauty of science, but also music and history. The remaining presentations in the series include:

July 29
Dr. Cecily Selby
“History of Naushon Island”

August 5
Rum Soaked Crooks featuring Tom Goux
“MBL Songs”

August 12
Dr. Paul Colinvaux
“Amazon Expeditions: My Quest for the Ice-Age Equator”

All remaining talks will be held at 4:00 PM in the MBLWHOI Library’s Grass Reading Room. For more information, contact the MBLWHOI Library at 508-289-7341.


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.