Princeton Day School was honored to welcome two pioneers in the field of evolutionary biology to campus for the annual Pioneers in Science lecture on Wednesday, February 28. Drs. Peter and Rosemary Grant are best known for their legendary 40-year study in the Galapagos Islands monitoring the finch populations first observed by Charles Darwin. In the assembly, the Grants shared with the rapt audience how they were able to demonstrate evolution in action through their study. They explained how through analysis of physical and genetic traits, including beak size and birdsong, they were able to track changes in finch populations and breeding between species as the island environment changed over time. Incredibly, they were also able to document the origin of new species.
Peter and Rosemary Grant, a married couple, are both currently emeritus professors of Biology at Princeton University, and have received numerous awards including the Darwin-Wallace medal, the prestigious Kyoto Prize, and the Royal Medal in Biology. Here is a video about their work.
Upper School science teacher Dr. Carrie Norin explained that at Princeton Day School, each Biology class has an intimate familiarity of the Grants' work: "The ninth grade evolution unit illustrates natural selection through the Grants' experiments, while AP Biology students statistically analyze the Grants' data to understand evolution."
In the attached photo, from left to right are PDS Science Department Chair Jason Park, Dr. Peter Grant, US Science teacher Dr. Carrie Norin, Dr. Rosemary Grant, and Rohan Narayanan '18. Here are some more photos from the Grants' visit to campus.