skip to main content

COVID-19 Information and Guidance

Webinar — Evolution, COVID-19 and Communicating Controversial Science to the Public

The acceleration of scientific discoveries — including the unearthing of ancient fossils and the development of new insights into the genomes of living species — is helping to answer some of the most important questions about life on Earth. Despite these advances, the American public remains skeptical of science, whether it pertains to evolution, climate change or responses to the current pandemic. This doubt persists even as the public witnesses examples of evolution all around, including the recent emergence of the new COVID-19 variants, which are far more transmissible than the virus that began circulating last year.

At this event, evolutionary biologist and bestselling author Neil Shubin discussed his research, public engagement and how to talk about controversial topics with the public and policymakers. Shubin is the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago, host of an Emmy Award-winning PBS miniseries and the author of several books, including “Your Inner Fish” and “Some Assembly Required.”

This event was part of the Civic Scientist Lecture Series, sponsored by the Baker Institute Science and Technology Policy Program with generous support from Benjamin and Winifer Cheng. Additional support was provided by Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences and grants from the Kavli Foundation and the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 2042854). Follow @stpolicy on Twitter, and join the conversation with #BakerScience.



3:00 pm — Welcome Remarks
3:05 pm — Presentation
3:20 pm — Moderated Discussion

Welcome Speaker

Kirstin R.W. Matthews, Ph.D.
Fellow in Science and Technology Policy, Baker Institute

Featured Speaker

Neil Shubin, Ph.D.
Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago


Scott Solomon, Ph.D.
Associate Teaching Professor, Department of BioSciences, Rice University




Mon, March 22, 2021
3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central


Online webinar