Indiana State University Newsroom

Play, dinosaur researcher to focus on Darwin

October 9, 2009

Indiana State University's department of biology will host the award-winning play, "The Sandwalk," as part of its celebration of the 150th anniversary of Darwin's book, "The Origin of Species."

The performance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 14 in the University Hall Theatre. This play, which is free and open to the public, examines the controversy between Charles Darwin and his wife concerning the publication of his book.

In "The Sandwalk," Emma, after years helping Charles with his work on seeds, finds herself dreading the implications of a theory which will establish a view opposite her own. In the end, a man must live up to his own convictions, though they shatter a quiet and rustic life of retirement, and a woman must find her own voice.

Additionally, a professor, who studies the origin of flight in dinosaurs, will visit Indiana State to speak on Darwin.

The public also is invited to listen to Kevin Padian, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, speak about Darwin's contributions to science at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in Tilson Auditorium.

In "What Darwin said...and didn't say," Padian will speak about the aspects of Darwin's research including misconceptions that surround it.

Padian received his bachelor's degree in natural science and his master's in education from Colgate University. He earned his Ph.D. from Yale University, where his studies focused on the evolution of flight in pterosaurs. His main areas of research include the origins of flight, birds and other dinosaurs, bone histology and the history of evolutionary thought.

Padian taught high school science prior to his work at Berkeley and was principal author of the "California Science Framework K-12."

He received the 2003 Carl Sagan Award for the popularization of science and became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007.

The Darwin Keynote Speaker Series is sponsored by The Lilly Endowment, the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement, First Year Programs, the Honors Program, and St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.

The ISU department of biology created this speaker series to "build and maintain a community that exemplifies the spirit of experiential learning and community engagement."

It brings in nationally and internationally recognized scientists to interact with students, faculty and the Terre Haute community.

For more information about the Darwin Keynote Speaker Series visit

Contact: Rusty Gonser, Indiana State University, associate professor of biology,, 812-237-2395

Writer: Bailee Souder, Indiana State University, media relations intern,, 812-237-3773

Story Highlights

"The Sandlot," a play that examins the controversy between Charles Darwin and his wife concerning the publication of his book, will be performed at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 in University Hall Theater. Kevin Padian will speak about aspects of Darwin's research in a presentation at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in Tilson Auditorium.

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