Whitehead's Public program collaborations

2009 Evolution of the Vertebrate Eye Symposium

In recognition of the 150th Anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, MIT’s Science of the Eye program and Whitehead Institute’s Partnership for Science Education was proud to host a symposium on the evolution of the vertebrate eye in McGovern Auditorium at Whitehead Institute on Friday, November 20, 2009.

The morning session featured talks by Darwin scholar John Durant, director of the MIT Museum; Dr. Graeme Wistow, section chief on Molecular Structure and Function at the National Eye Institute; Prof. Nancy Kanwisher, investigator at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research; and Prof. Constance Cepko, a Harvard Medical School geneticist.

Also lecturing were Dr. Ishara Mills-Henry, an accomplished biochemist and director of Science of the Eye, and Prof. Jonathan King, MIT professor of molecular biology.

A special two-hour afternoon session also was held and was geared towards high school biology teachers, offering them the opportunity to hear from the foremost experts in the evolution of the vertebrate eye and vision science.

After the lectures and general discussion, smaller more intimate break-out discussions were held by individual lecturers. Teachers then had the opportunity to join participating scientists for dinner and conversation immediately following the symposium.

The one-day conference was co-sponsored by MIT’s Science of the Eye program, the Massachusetts Association of Biology Teachers, Whitehead Institute's Partnership for Science Education, Massachusetts Darwin Bicentennial Project, and Citizens for Public Schools.

Drawing of Charles Darwin

To mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, MIT’s Science of the Eye program and Whitehead Institute’s Partnership for Science Education hosted a day-long symposium on the evolution of the vertebrate eye.

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