Trinity University, San Antonio | News Release



CONTACT:  Mary Anthony

Jan. 15, 2010


Pulitzer Prize Recipient to Present DeCoursey Lecture at Trinity University


Jared Diamond

SAN ANTONIO – Jared Diamond, professor of geography at UCLA, will present the Trinity University DeCoursey Lecture for the 2009-2010 academic year at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, in Laurie Auditorium. The title of his talk is “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” His presentation is free and open to the public.


The ruined cities, temples, and statues of history’s great, vanished societies (Easter Island, the Anasazi, the Lowland Maya, Angkor Wat, Great Zimbabwe, and many more) are the birthplace of endless romantic mysteries. But these disappearances offer more than idle conjecture: the social collapses were due in part to the types of environmental problems that beset us today.  


Yet many societies facing similar problems do not collapse. What makes certain societies especially vulnerable? Why didn’t their leaders perceive and solve their environmental problems? What can we learn from their fates, and what can we do differently today to help us avoid their fates?


Professor Diamond earned his A.B. from Harvard College and doctorate in physiology and membrane biophysics from the University of Cambridge.  He began his scientific career as professor of physiology at UCLA Medical School and later expanded into evolutionary biology and geography and became professor of geography at UCLA, his current position.  He has been elected to the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.  Among Professor Diamond’s many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan’s Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by the Rockefeller University.  He has published more than 200 articles in Discover, Natural History, Nature, and Geo magazines.  His book Guns, Germs, and Steel, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.


Doors to Laurie Auditorium will open at 6:45 p.m. on the evening of the lecture.  The lecture series is made possible by a gift from the late Gen. Elbert DeCoursey and Mrs. DeCoursey of San Antonio.


For more information, contact Trinity’s department of Academic Affairs at 210-999-8201.




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