Chattanooga State Celebrates the Year of Science

January 28, 2009 | Phyllis Mescon | Internal Press Release

During 2009, Chattanooga State Technical Community College will sponsor special events and activities showcasing a variety of scientific themes as part of a national initiative known as the Year of Science 2009.  On Thursday, February 12, Chattanooga State launches its year‐long celebration by hosting the local premiere of the documentary film Paradise Lost: The Religious Life of Charles Darwin.  Beginning at 7 p.m., the screening is 50 minutes long and will be followed by a group discussion facilitated by David Wollert, the film’s writer, director, and producer.  Wollert is also an associate professor of biology at Chattanooga State.  The screening will be held in Room C30 in the Center for Advanced Technology, which is located on Chattanooga State’s main campus at 4501 Amnicola Highway.  The event is open to the public free of charge.

According to Dr. Mosunmola George‐Taylor, dean for the math and science division, the focus on science during 2009 provides an opportunity for Chattanooga State to improve public understanding about how science works, why science matters, and who scientists are.  Dr. George‐Taylor notes, “As an educational institution, it is imperative that Chattanooga State promote the significance of science and highlight the contributions of scientific research.  As science educators, it is vital that we are the catalysts through which the public engages the world of science.”

Filmmaker and scientist, David Wollert, is new to the faculty at Chattanooga State.  His passion for science coupled with his intense interest in filmmaking propelled Wollert towards producing a film about Charles Darwin.  “The film is not intended to be controversial or divisive,” stresses Wollert.  “Rather the film presents Charles Darwin as a conflicted nineteenth century scientist, whose disciplined research, personal losses, and religious reflections ordained him to a state of perpetual soul searching.  He was not an enemy of Christianity nor was he a secular scientist.  Instead, Darwin was an honest, vulnerable human being, struggling with the same issues with which we struggle today.”

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of his most noteworthy publication, On the Origin of Species.  Because 2009 is the Year of Science, Wollert anticipates creating opportunities throughout the year to commemorate Darwin’s contributions.  “I am interested in having a continuous dialogue about Darwin,” says Wollert.  “He was naturally curious about the world around him, and his contributions have profoundly shaped scientific thought and assumptions about our world.  Using the Year of Science as a platform for public engagement, I want to encourage an open exchange that keeps all of us curious, questioning, and interested.”

Chattanooga State will host two additional events during February that center around Charles Darwin and the topic of evolution.  Both forums will feature a presentation by Professor Wollert and will provide an opportunity for discussion.

•   February 16, 12 noon ‐ Evolution, Creation Science, & Intelligent Design

•   February 23, 12 noon ‐ The Evolution of Evolution: Darwin in the 21st Century

Both events will take place on Chattanooga State’s main campus in Room126, which is located in the Omniplex building.  The presentations are open to the public free of charge.

For more information about Chattanooga State’s Year of Science 2009 celebration and the events planned for February, contact David Wollert by email at david.wollert@chattanoogastate.edu or by telephone at 423.697.3112.

For information about Chattanooga State and its educational programs, call the Chattanooga State information hotline at 423.697.4404 or toll free at 1.866.547.3733 or visit the college’s Web site at www.chattanoogastate.edu.

Chattanooga State is a comprehensive, regionally accredited community college, operated under the policies and guidelines of the Tennessee Board of Regents College System.  Founded in 1965 and serving a six-county area in Southeast Tennessee, Chattanooga State offers a wide array of programs and services.