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Students, faculty, and staff celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday with a memorable party in the Science Center Feb. 12, 2009. Organized by Associate Professor of Biology Colin Purrington, the party featured cake, games, and favors – though in this case, each had an evolution-inspired twist. The cake, made of numerous individual banana cakes, sported an icing tree similar to a sketch Darwin made to represent the way evolution works. That design also appeared on the temporary tattoos Purrington made for the occasion, along with numerous tattoos, stickers, and bookmarks of Darwin’s face. Students also played an earnest game of “pin the beak on the finch.” “Several years ago, I decided that simply teaching evolution to a few thousand Swarthmore students over the life of my career wasn’t going to really change public attitudes," says Purrington, who provides a variety of evolution education resources on his site. “I felt I had to do something to speed up the acceptance of evolution. This work is not going to stop global warming or make gas cheaper, but I feel strongly that science education is hobbled in part because other aspects of science are so often associated with evolution. If people accept and enjoy the science of evolution, we might have a better overall science education policy in the United States - and that would be a good thing.” (video by Mahandra Rodriguez ’12)

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