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Dawkins to deliver 'BEYOND' lecture

March 04, 2008

Richard Dawkins, a renowned evolutionary biologist and popular science writer, will deliver this year’s BEYOND lecture, based on his controversial book “The God Delusion,” at 7:30 p.m. March 6 in Gammage Auditorium on ASU’s Tempe campus.

“Richard Dawkins is one of the world’s finest expositors; he lectures with passion and commitment on provocative themes,” says Paul Davies, an ASU professor, internationally acclaimed theoretical physicist, cosmologist and founding director of the BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.

The BEYOND Center is a “cosmic think tank” established at ASU in 2006.

“The Beyond annual lecture challenges one of the world’s leading intellectuals to think beyond the confines of their specialism, and to offer new insights into science, philosophy or futurology,” Davies says.

Dawkins is “not one to shy away from controversy,” says Davies. Discover magazine labeled him “Darwin’s Rottweiler” for his fierce defense of evolution, while Britain’s Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world.

Professor Dawkins is the first holder of the endowed Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. A graduate of Oxford, Dawkins did his doctorate under the Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Niko Tinbergen. In 1967, Dawkins was appointed assistant professor of zoology at the University of California at Berkeley, returning to Oxford in 1969. He has been a Fellow of New College since 1970.

“The God Delusion” was published in 2006. Other books include “The Selfish Gene” and “The Extended Phenotype.” “The Blind Watchmaker” won the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Los Angeles Times Prize, both in 1987. His other best-sellers include “River Out of Eden,” “Climbing Mount Improbable,” “Unweaving the Rainbow,” “A Devil’s Chaplain” and “The Ancestor’s Tale.”

In 1997, Dawkins won the International Cosmos Prize. Other awards have included the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London (1989), the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Award (1990), the Nakayama Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1990) and the Kistler Prize (2001). He also won the Shakespeare Prize for Contribution to British Culture (2005). More recently, he received the Lewis Thomas Prize (2007) and the Karlheinz Deschner Award (2007).

The British ethologist has honorary doctorates in both literature and science and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Tickets are required for the lecture, which is free and open to the public. While there are no longer tickets available, unclaimed seats will be given away beginning at 7:15 p.m. People who do not have tickets are advised to form a line at 6:45 p.m. Additional information at

The BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, is a pioneering international research center at Arizona State University in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The center is specifically dedicated to confronting the big questions raised by advances in fundamental science, and facilitating new research initiatives that transcend traditional subject categories.

Carol Hughes,
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences