Science at Cal Lecture Series

On the Origin of Life

Wednesday, March 31st  |  6 – 7 PM

Dr. Charles Marshall

Director, UC Museum of Paleontology

Professor, Dept. of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley

From the Big Bang to the emergence of humans… we’re asking the age-old question: what is the origin of life? While this question has fascinated humans for centuries, recent breakthroughs have been made that bear remarkable implications. Join us for this special Science at Cal Lecture celebrating the UC Museum of Paleontology’s 100th year anniversary and featuring the Director of the Museum, Professor Charles Marshall. We will learn about the last universal common ancestor (LUCA), the unexpected similarities between prebiotic and human innovation, and the central role that energy and information have played in transforming the planet over the last 4 billion years, leading right up to the present climate crisis.

Dr. Charles Marshall

Dr. Charles Marshall was an undergraduate at the Australian National University, did his graduate work at the University of Chicago, and an NIH postdoc at Indiana University. He then spent eight years in Earth and Space Sciences at UCLA, becoming tenured after 2 years. This was followed by 10 years in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Earth and Planetary Sciences, and the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. He has been at Cal now for 11 wonderful years. He has received an NSF National Young Investigator Award, the Paleontological Society’s Schuchert Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He serves as a Trustee and President of the California Academy of Sciences, on the Board of the Berkeley Geochronology Center, and on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science. He is an unusual paleontologist with training in mathematics, the physical sciences, geology, and organismal and molecular biology. His broad research interests center on understanding the nature of evolutionary innovation and extinction, where his work often involves epistemological innovation. He enjoys teaching, including a previous course on dinosaurs and, at Cal, a co-taught course on Origins: from the Big Bang to the emergence of humans.

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