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About the Project
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Evolution Project Overview
  Evolution plays a critical role in our daily lives, yet it is one of the most overlooked principles of life. It is the mechanism that determines who lives, who dies, and who gets the opportunity to pass traits on to the next generation, and the next, and the next ...

The Evolution project is a seven-part, eight-hour television broadcast series, an extensive Web site, a far-reaching educational outreach initiative, and a HarperCollins companion book by acclaimed science writer Carl Zimmer.

Evolution, which premiered on PBS September 24 - 27, 2001, travels around the world to examine evolutionary science and the profound effect it has had on society and culture. From the genius and torment of Charles Darwin to the vast changes that spawned the tree of life, from the role of mass extinctions in the survival of species to the power of sex to drive evolutionary change, Evolution is fascinating and far-reaching in scope. The series also explores the emergence of consciousness, the success of humans, and the perceived conflict between science and religion in understanding human life.

The Evolution project's goals are to heighten understanding of evolution and how it works, to dispel common misunderstandings, to illuminate why it is relevant to our lives, to improve its teaching, to encourage a national dialogue, and to prompt participation in all aspects of the project.

Episode titles
Darwin's Dangerous Idea (two hours)
Great Transformations (one hour)
Extinction! (one hour)
The Evolutionary Arms Race (one hour)
Why Sex? (one hour)
The Mind's Big Bang (one hour)
What About God? (one hour)

What makes this series different?
"It's Masterpiece Theatre meets NOVA."
--Richard Hutton, Series Executive Producer

The first episode of Evolution, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," is an accessible and unusual entrée into a science series. It combines drama and documentary to examine the science of evolution and the effect it has had on society. The drama tracks Darwin's personal and professional conflict throughout the 20 years after his Beagle voyage and before he published the theory that would topple the prevailing worldview. Each of the five dramatic acts ends with an epiphany or core evolutionary theory that launches a short documentary on the subject. The following are the subjects of each act:
Act I: Common Ancestor
Act II: Natural Selection
Act III: Complexity
Act IV: God
Act V: Man

The entire broadcast series is narrated by Liam Neeson.

Television series executive producer
Richard Hutton

Produced for PBS
Evolution is a co-production of the WGBH/NOVA Science Unit and Clear Blue Sky Productions.

Project components
Web Site
This content-rich, interactive Web site with streaming imagery, animations, simulations, dynamic timelines, conversations with experts, current news bulletins, and extensive links to evolution-related learning resources worldwide.

Resources for learning: The Evolution project offers a comprehensive array of free educational and professional development resources to expand student understanding of evolution and the nature of science.
Evolution Teacher's Guide
This free, 40-page teacher's guide provides activities to enhance the high school biology curriculum in a multimedia format that integrates all the Evolution resources.

Teaching Evolution: Online Course for Teachers
This eight-session course for high school teachers draws on the broadcast series, interactive Web activities, streaming videos, and Evolution Library to provide an active learning experience. The course will deepen teachers' understanding of evolutionary concepts and help them address obstacles to teaching evolution.

Teaching Evolution Case Studies
Four 15-minute videos (streamed online and available on VHS) highlight the teaching of evolution in real classrooms around the country.

Learning Evolution: Online Lessons for Students
Tied to national science standards and high school biology curricula, these online lessons use multimedia formats to enhance students' understanding of evolutionary concepts.

Evolving Ideas: Videos for Students
Seven five-minute videos (streamed online and available on VHS) combine engaging storytelling with scientific inquiry to explore the fundamental concepts of biological evolution.

Evolution Library
This multimedia library provides Web access to more than 150 multimedia resources, including video, animation, primary source documents, and still images, all designed to enhance learning and teaching about evolution.

Lead Teacher Initiative
A group of 25 lead teachers are helping colleagues develop their knowledge of evolution and improve their classroom teaching strategies.
Companion book
Written by Carl Zimmer, an award-winning science journalist specializing in evolution, the companion book includes an introduction by noted paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. Evolution is published by HarperCollins and available in bookstores nationwide.

Home video
The entire eight-hour Evolution television series, as well as single videos and a special curriculum kit for educators, are available from WGBH Boston Video. For more information or to request a free catalogue, please call WGBH Boston Video at 1-800-949-8670.

The Evolution series is closed captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by The Caption Center at WGBH Boston.

Narrated descriptions are provided by Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®), a national service of WGBH Boston that makes television, cable, and home video programming accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

The Web site is also accessible, designed for use with screen reader devices which render text into speech for blind and low-vision Web users.

To learn more about providing access to Web content for users with disabilities, please visit the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media.

Overall Spokesperson
Dr. Jane Goodall, CBE (primatologist and conservationist)

Science Spokespeople
Dr. Kenneth Miller (evolutionary biologist)
Dr. Stephen Jay Gould (paleontologist and evolutionary biologist)

Education Spokesperson
Dr. Eugenie Scott (Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education)

Religious Spokespeople
Reverend Canon Dr. Arthur Peacocke (physical biochemist and Anglican priest)
Reverend Dr. Arnold Thomas (minister)

Color photos available on request.

Press Contacts
Anne Zeiser
WGBH Boston

Jason J. Hunke
Clear Blue Sky Productions
Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall, an advisor
to the Evolution project,
describes its significance.

View in QuickTime or RealPlayer


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