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Author to discuss ‘Ignorance: How it Drives Science’

Stuart FiresteinStuart Firestein, author of “Ignorance: How it Drives Science,” will present the keynote address at opening convocation at Linfield College on Friday, Aug. 22, at 9 a.m. in the Ted Wilson Gymnasium.

Firestein is dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience and serves as an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for Public Understanding of Science. “Ignorance: How it Drives Science” covers the workings of science for a general audience. The book was the reading project for all first-year Linfield students, and will serve as a centerpiece for discussions and special programs throughout the year for freshman Colloquium and the college’s PLACE initiative (Program in the Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement).

Firestein chairs the Columbia University Department of Biological Sciences where he and his colleagues study the vertebrate olfactory system, possibly the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. His laboratory seeks to answer a fundamental human question: How do I smell?

Firestein didn’t start off dreaming of being a scientist. After becoming involved with his high school drama club, he spent 20 years working in the theatre on both the East and West Coasts. He returned to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

He has published articles in Wired magazine, the Huffington Post and Scientific American. Firestein was elected as a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his meritorious efforts to advance science. Firestein’s writing often advocates for better science writing.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Convocation is the traditional ceremony that celebrates the beginning of the new academic year. Faculty dress in academic regalia and new faculty members are introduced to the Linfield community. Classes at Linfield will begin Monday, Aug. 25.

For more information, call 503-883-2561.