Brain’s evolution is topic of last 2012 Shulman Lecture

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Anthropologist and neurobiologist Terrence William Deacon will deliver the final 2012 Shulman Lecture in Science and the Humanities on Tuesday, March 27, at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St.

His talk, “Adapted to a Symbolic Niche: How Less Became More in Human Evolution,” will take place at 5 p.m. in Rm. 208 and is free and open to the public.

The 2012 Shulman Lectures are organized in conjunction with the Yale College seminar “Music and Human Evolution,” taught by Gary Tomlinson, which investigates the formation of human capacities for music-making and music perception in the light of recent evolutionary science and theory.

Deacon has been a professor at Harvard and Boston University, and is currently chair of the department of anthropology and a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California–Berkeley. His research has focused largely on the evolution of the human brain and its unique cognitive capacities, especially with respect to language skills, but has also included studies of comparative brain anatomy, neural development, and cross-species transplantation of fetal neurons and stem cells. His award-winning book, “The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain,” synthesized neurological, evolutionary, linguistic, and semiotic approaches to understanding human brain and language evolution.

Deacon has also had a career-long interest in the theories of American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, and traces many of his novel approaches to the nature of life and mind to ideas that Peirce originally suggested, but which were beyond scientific investigation in Peirce’s time. Deacon’s new book, “Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter,” offers a fundamentally new perspective on both the origin of life and the neurology of consciousness.

The lecture series is named after Robert Shulman, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and senior research scientist in diagnostic radiology, in recognition of his roles as a founding fellow of the Whitney and as an unwavering supporter of the integration of science and the humanities.

For more information contact Susan Stout at (203) 432-6556 or send an email.

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