Oct. 20, 2016

Rhodes Symposium will honor emeritus president on his 90th

A celebration of the intellectual cornerstones of a brilliant man’s academic career will take place on Oct. 29 at the Frank H.T. Rhodes Symposium in Alice Statler Auditorium.

On the occasion of the president emeritus’ 90th birthday, the morning symposium will bring to campus the world’s foremost Darwin scholar, Janet Browne of Harvard University, and Yale University professor of geology and geophysics Derek Briggs. They will address Rhodes' contributions to paleontology and Darwin studies and the relevance of these topics today.

Browne is the chair of Harvard’s Department of the History of Science. Briggs is curator in charge of invertebrate paleontology at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

The symposium, scheduled for 9 to 11:45 a.m., will end with a student panel discussion of modern attitudes toward sustainability, based on a reading of Rhodes’ recent book, “Earth: A Tenant’s Manual.” In the book, Rhodes stresses the need for people to more fully understand the planet that they’re “renting.”

“This is not just an artistic compulsion or an existential yearning, still less an academic exercise,” Rhodes writes. “It’s a survival issue. This is the only planet we have. … We’re tenants here, not owners, but we’re tenants with hope for a long-term tenancy.”

Hosts for the event will be Warren Allmon, director of the Paleontological Research Institution and Hunter R. Rawlings III Professor of Paleontology; and Rick Allmendinger, chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

The symposium is free and open to the public.