Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Mar. 28–May 16
Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center Lake Anne
Instructor: Steve Greenhouse
We will discuss evolution and its explanatory mechanism, natural selection. Evolution is the driving force behind the history of all organisms that have ever lived, from the origin of life four billion years ago to the rise of mammals after the mass extinction that occurred 65 million years ago. All major evolutionary transitions will be presented, starting with single-celled organisms without a nucleus. Factors affecting evolution will be discussed, together with an example illustrating how natural selection works. Questions such as “What is life?” will be answered and myths about evolution will be evaluated. Part 2 of this course, tentatively scheduled for the fall term, will follow the rise of mammals and early primates through the evolution of humans.
Steve Greenhouse, a retired electrical engineer, worked in the space communications field for 35 years. He has long been fascinated by paleontology and especially paleoanthropology, the evolution of humans. With no formal training in this field, Greenhouse has read extensively, traveled to the Galapagos Islands, and participated in a dinosaur fossil dig. He looks at presenting this course as both a challenge and an educational experience for himself. Greenhouse believes teachers can learn along with their students.