The annual Charles Darwin Birthday evolutionary studies seminar series kick-off will take place on Monday, Feb. 11, in Lecture Center 100. The event is set to begin at 5:30 p.m., featuring a lecture by Geoffrey Miller, associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico.
The Darwin Day event started in 2006 after faculty discovered the day from a website, darwinday.org.
The organization announced the day as one day for secularists to celebrate the creation of evolutionary studies and its impact on understanding.
The event was initially conceived as a day for professors to get together on campus and talk about how evolution applied to their own area of studies, Dr. Glenn Geher, professor and chair of psychology and director of evolutionary studies, said.
“People were standing in the aisle, people were sitting on the stairs and that was right before we started the evolutionary studies program,” Geher said.
Since then, the annual event was created as a kickoff celebration for the Evolutionary Studies Department’s seminar series hosted in the spring, which includes lectures, parties and food.
This year’s event begins with Miller’s lecture focusing on sexual selections in humans and complex behavioral patterns, Geher said.
“Miller is great at getting people to see Darwin’s ideas related to things they never imagined and I think that’s how integrative his theory is,” Geher said.
Miller’s lecture, “Sexual Evolution and Runaway Consumerism,” discusses his newest evolutionary studies theory explaining how consumer behavior and business are impacted by the theory of sexual selection.
Following the lecture, the Evolutionary Studies Department will host a costume party for Darwin’s birthday celebration, the first of its kind since the Department of Evolutionary Studies began their annual celebration.
The costume party held at the College Terrace will play on the Victorian costume era, but any other Darwinian costume will also do. However, Andrea Varga, associate professor of theater arts design and evolutionary studies board member, said that costume requirements shouldn’t discourage any faculty or students from attending.
“It’s more of the notion of dressing outside the norm,” Varga said.
Students and faculty members may wear any costume to the event. A funky hat or other types of accessories are also allowed, Varga said.
“The board wanted to do something that was a little more festive this year,” she said. “Everybody who participated in terms of faculty loves it, believes it and has fun.”
Miller will also host a book signing for his most recent book called, “Spent.” The book reflects his earlier talk on spending behaviors and consumer behaviors from an evolutionary perspective.
Melissa Warren, an evolutionary studies minor, will be attending the day’s festivities and believes other students should as well.
“I think it’s important to actually listen to and potentially interact with leaders in this field,” she said. “We read their theories, but attending their seminars adds a new dimension to the learning experience.”