posted September 29, 2003

Speaker to Discuss Native American Origins

The annual Sigma Xi lecture at Hope College will review the role that genetic information can play in understanding the origins of Native Americans.

Dr. Emoke Szathmary, an anthropologist who is also president of the University of Manitoba, will present "Genetic Evidence on the Origins of the Aboriginal Peoples of North America" on Monday, Oct. 6, at 5 p.m. in room 1000 of the college's new science center.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Szathmary will consider the framework within which genetic information is interpreted as well as the genetic record itself in assessing the evidence for the origins of the first North Americans. She notes that the indigenous peoples of North and South America share some genes, but that interpretations of the genes - such as whether they indicate descent from a common ancestral population or have some other explanation - requires the use of non-biological information, typically based on language relationships and the archaeological record.

Szathmary is the author of more than 80 scientific articles and reviews, and has co-edited three books. She is the past editor of the "Yearbook of Physical Anthropology" and of the "American Journal of Physical Anthropology," which is the official publication of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. She is a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1998, the American Anthropological Association named her a Distinguished Lecturer, the highest recognition given by the anthropological discipline for a lifetime of exemplary scholarship. She became a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer in 2002.

Founded in 1866, Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, is a non-profit membership society of more than 70,000 scientists and engineers who were elected to the society because of their research achievements or potential.

The Sigma Xi chapter at Hope is one of 500 clubs and chapters in North America dedicated to the encouragement, support and recognition of scientists.

The college's science center is located on 12th Street at College Avenue.