Pitt Honors College Hosts Lecture on Humans’ Rise to Prominence, Environmental Effects

Issue Date: 
October 20, 2008


The University of Pittsburgh Honors College will host Paul R. Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in Stanford University’s Department of Biology, as part of the American Experience Distinguished Lecture Series. The talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in the Twentieth Century Club, Bigelow Boulevard and Parkman Street, Oakland.

The Honors College is holding the event in collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Phipps Conservatory, National Aviary, and Garden Club of Allegheny County.

The lecture, titled “The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment,” is based on Ehrlich’s 2008 book of the same name, coauthored by his wife, Anna H. Ehrlich, and published by Island Press. In his talk, Ehrlich will expound on the rise of humans to a global prominence that is shaping the future of evolution and the fate of our planet. Following the lecture, Samuel M. Taylor, director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, will moderate a discussion on the topic.

Ehrlich is the author of Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect (Island Press, 2000), The Population Explosion (Touchstone Books, 1991), and The Population Bomb (Ballantine Books, 1968). He is president of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Studies and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In a career spanning more than four decades, Ehrlich has amassed numerous honors, including the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, in lieu of a Nobel Prize for disciplines in which the Nobel is not awarded; the John Muir Award of the Sierra Club; the Gold Medal Award of the World Wildlife Fund International; and a MacArthur Prize Fellowship.

A native of Philadelphia, Ehrlich earned a BA degree at the University of Pennsylvania and MA and PhD degrees at the University of Kansas. He joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1959 and was promoted to full professor of biology in 1966. His research activities include matters concerning biology, ecology, evolution, and the behaviors of natural populations.

The late Robert G. Hazo created the American Experience program 38 years ago to offer Pittsburgh’s mid-to-high level managers the opportunity to gain insight into political and economic thought, with the intent of enlightening the public’s political discourse. The program’s current director is Edward L. McCord, director of programming and special projects in Pitt’s Honors College. The series focuses on political and economic issues and has offered annual addresses by such internationally known speakers as the late John Kenneth Galbraith, Pat Buchanan, and Teresa Heinz Kerry.

The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. Those interested in attending must RSVP by Oct. 24, with name, phone number, and name(s) of additional attendees to uhcevent@pitt.edu or 412-624-2654. For more information on the American Experience Lecture Series, visit http://ae.honorscollege.pitt.edu/.