TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution, or ALLELE, seminar series kicks off the new year with a lecture by Dr. Ann Reid, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in the North Lawn Auditorium of North Lawn Hall on The University of Alabama campus.
Reid’s talk, “Science Class is for Science, Right? Think Again,” will discuss ways that public understanding of science, especially such topics as evolution and climate change, can be improved. The lecture is free and open to the public. There will be time for questions at the end.
Reid’s work with the National Center for Science Education aims to defend teaching topics that educators often minimize to avoid controversy, said Dr. Thomas Tobin, an assistant professor of geological sciences at UA. One of ALLELE’s main goals is to spread public understanding of evolution, Tobin said, and Reid will offer a key perspective on evolution and public education.
“Evolution is often misrepresented as scientifically controversial or unsettled, but in reality it is a well-understood scientific concept, accepted by nearly all scientists,” Tobin said. “However, public acceptance of the scientific consensus on topics like evolution and climate change could be greatly improved.”
Reid worked in a variety of roles before taking charge of the National Center for Science Education in 2014. She was a research scientist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology from 1989 to 2004, where she used molecular biology techniques to obtain the full genetic sequence of the 1918 influenza virus from frozen tissue samples.
She was a senior program officer at the National Research Council’s Board on Life Science from 2005 to 2009 and was the director of the American Academy of Microbiology from 2010 to 2014.
Tobin said he is looking forward to hearing Reid talk so he may apply some of what she discusses as he addresses climate change and evolution in his introductory geology class.
“I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching of these topics, particularly when teaching students with ideological opposition to these concepts,” Tobin said.
The ALLELE lecture series is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships and Goldwater Scholarships.
Learn more about the series at evolution.as.ua.edu.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.