John Beatty to deliver lecture on ‘Genetics, the Atomic Age and the Cold War’ for Washington University’s Assembly Series

Philosopher of science John Beatty will deliver the Thomas Hall Lecture titled “Genetics, the Atomic Age and the Cold War” at 4 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 26, as part of the university’s Assembly Series. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Rebstock Hall, Room 215, located just east of Mallinckrodt Center (6445 Forsyth Blvd.) on the Washington University campus.

John Beatty is the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor in the department of ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota. The thrust of Beatty’s talk will be on the way science and national security have tended, until recently, to focus almost exclusively on the physical sciences. But recent fears of bioterrorism have led modern society to think more broadly about the role that biology might play in national security in the 21st century. However, according to Beatty, biology has long played a role in considerations of national security, and he will consider the relevance of genetics (and population genetics) to atomic age and cold war concerns, and in turn the impact of the atomic age and the cold war on genetics.

He has published widely on the changing conceptual foundations, aims and methods, as well as the sociopolitical dimensions, of the life sciences. He is currently working on a book, Genetics in the Atomic Age.

Beatty received a B.S. degree in biology and chemistry from Tulane University in 1973, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history and philosophy of science in 1977 and 1979, respectively, both from Indiana University. He has taught at Harvard University, Arizona State University and Stanford University.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Beatty chairs the AAAS’s Section on History and Philosophy of Science. He also chairs the U.S. National Committee of the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science.

For more information, call (314) 935-4620 or visit the Assembly Series Web page (