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Honors Speakers

The Honors College hosts a "Spring Speaker" each year who brings to the campus an important, scholarly discussion that is current and interdisciplinary. Traditionally, prior to the speaker's arrival, a book group open to faculty, staff, and students is sponsored by the College to engage the community in the topic at hand and enliven discussion, debate, and promote opportunities for inquiry. For info on the current reading group, please contact Kate Bruce.

2015 Honors Speaker: NEIL SHUBIN, PHD

The UNCW Honors College will host the lecture, “Your Inner Fish" by Dr. Neil Shubin, Monday, February 23, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in the Burney Center Ballroom on the campus of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session and book-signing.  This event is free and open to the public.  No tickets are required.

Neil Shubin is the Robert Bensley Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and associate dean for academic strategy of the university's Biological Sciences Division. He's also the author of two popular science books — The Universe Within: The Deep History of the Human Body (2013) and the best-selling Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (2008). Your Inner Fish was named best book of the year by the National Academy of Sciences.

The focus of Shubin's research is the evolution of new organs, especially limbs. He's conducted fieldwork in Greenland, China, Canada, and much of North America and Africa and has discovered some of the earliest mammals, crocodiles, dinosaurs, frogs and salamanders in the fossil record.

One of his most significant discoveries, the 375-million-year-old Tiktaalik roseae fossil, is considered an important transitional form between fish and land animals. The 2006 announcement of the finding received worldwide media coverage and led to Shubin's being named ABC News Person of the Week. He's made many other notable observations regarding the developmental biology of limbs, using his diverse fossil findings to devise hypotheses about the genetic and developmental processes that led to anatomical transformations. He is also committed to sharing the importance of science with the public.

Shubin earned his Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011.

His work has been featured in many venues, click here for information on the PBS series "Your Inner Fish."

Co-sponsored by: Office of the Provost; Departments of Biology & Marine Biology, Geography & Geology, English, and Communication Studies; College of Health & Applied Human Services; School of Health & Applied Human Sciences; Randall Library; Center for Teaching Excellence; Honors Scholars Association and Wilmington Fellows; The Your Inner Fish Reading Group.

Past speakers for the Honors College have included: Dr. Dan Simons, Ms. Minnie Jean Brown Trickey, Dr. Kenneth Miller, Mr. Richard Leakey, Dr. E.O. Wilson, Dr. Sarah Boysen, Mr. Seth Kramer and Dr. David Harrison, Mr. David Quammen, Mr. Nat Faxon and Mr. Jim Rash, Mr. Paul Loeb, Dr. Paul Zubrin, Dr. Mark Plotkin, Dr. Michael Ruse, Dr. Maeve Leakey, Mr. Charles Mann, and Mr. Ralph Nader.

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