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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

What killed the Dinosaurs? What is BIG History?

An Undergraduate Discussion Supper With
Geologist Walter Alvarez

Wednesday, March 28, 5:30-7 p.m.
Harlos House, 1331 East 10th St.
Sign-up required (details below)

IU Alumna Libby Baney Approximately 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs that had ruled the earth were killed off. What caused their extinction? What can modern science tell us about such events? What can the new field of Big History tell us that is new?

World-renowned geologist Walter Alvarez is perhaps best known for his important discovery of a layer rich in the element iridium at the boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary epochs. This discovery, made in collaboration with his father (Luis Alvarez, who won the 1968 Nobel Prize in physics), convinced scientists that the most recent major extinction event 65 million years ago, which wiped out the dinosaurs, was due to the impact of a giant asteroid. Walter Alvarez documents their work in T. rex and the Crater of Doom. His interests also include Big History, the emerging interdisciplinary field that aims to tie everything in our planet's past-its cosmic ancestry, its geological and paleontological evolution, and the pageant of human societies-into a coherent understanding of the grand sweep and character of history.

Walter Alvarez is Emeritus Professor of Earth & Planetary Science at UC Berkeley and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His honors include the Penrose Medal, the highest honor of the Geological Society of America. He is on campus for two weeks as the IU Class of 1943 Wells Scholars Program Professor to participate in a HHC course called Origins and Extinctions, co-taught by anthropology Professors Kathy Schick and Nick Toth. Professor Alvarez will also be Scholar in Residence at the IU CRAFT Research Center and the Stone Age Institute.

SIGN-UP INFO: If you are interested in attending this undergraduate event, please check your schedule to make sure you are available for the entire event and e-mail Anna Duquaine (, indicating you wish to sign up for the "Walter Alvarez" program and include your name, e-mail address, year in school, and field(s) or study. Space is limited so we will let you know by e-mail if a space was available when you replied. The supper is co-sponsored by the Wells Scholars Program and is open to any IU undergraduate.

Walter Alvarez will also be participating in two events in Bloomington that are free and open to the public:

Wednesday, March 21st, 7:30 pm, Panel discussion: "EVOLUTION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Science, Education, and Politics" with Walter Alvarez (UC Berkeley Department of Earth and Planetary Science) and IU's Geoff Conrad, Kathy Schick, and Nicholas Toth (Anthropology); Elizabeth Raff and Rudolf Ralf (Biology); Lisa Pratt (Geological Sciences); and Timothy Londergan (Physics). Mathers Museum of World Cultures, 416 N. Indiana Ave.

Monday, March 26th, 7:30 pm, Public Lecture: "BIG HISTORY: A Bridge Between Humanities and Sciences" by Walter Alvarez, UC Berkeley Department of Earth and Planetary Science. Whittenberger Auditorium, IMU. Big History is a new field that aims to tie everything in our planet's past into a coherent understanding of the grand sweep and character of history. The lecture will be followed by a public reception at the University Club, IMU.

For more information, click here.

Spring 2012 Programs | Extracurricular Home