Thursday, February 9, 2023

Harvard biology professor to speak in lecture series

November 15, 2000

Ruth Hubbard, a Harvard University professor emerita, will be visiting MSU on Thursday night.

Hubbard, the first woman to be awarded a tenured biology professor position at the university, will be lecturing on “How the Genome Became the Book of Life.”

The speech will be the third of five McPherson Professorship lectures - a series that MSUPresident M. Peter McPherson and his wife Joanne decided earlier this year should focus on ways that science shapes society.

Hubbard will be focusing on issues addressed in her book, “Exploding the Myth.” The book focuses on the Human Genome Project, a project that was designed to map the human gene and discover its individual functions and the potential problems that could occur from researchers having so much genetic information at their disposal.

Alice Dreger, a Lyman Briggs professor and faculty coordinator for the series, said Hubbard’s topic was fitting for this year, as the Genome Project has progressed rapidly.

Hubbard became a professor of biology at Harvard in 1974 and was awarded the title of professor emerita in 1990 after serving fellowships at College Hospital Medical School in London and a Guggenheim Fellowship at Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The lecture series was established by the McPhersons after receiving an anonymous $2 million donation. Ronald Fisher, director of the Honors College, said the series is important to undergraduate education.

“Science and technology are so integral to our society that having an understanding of them will be helpful, whatever career or profession you pursue,” Fisher said.

The series is tied in with Natural Science 491, Science Changing Society, a class offered to all undergraduate students at MSU. Visiting lecturers address the public and give a lecture to the class the next day.

Douglas Luckie, a Lyman Briggs professor who teaches the science course and is also a faculty coordinator for the series, said Hubbard brings something extra.

“Three of the five speakers were chosen because they wrote amazing essays in the Journal of Science,” he said.

“The other two speakers were brought in to provide a balance in the point of view being presented. Ruth Hubbard


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