Edward Larson

Edward LarsonAlbert Christ-Janer Award 2001

Edward J. Larson, the Richard B. Russell Professor of American History and the Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law, has a long-established record of scholarship on the theory of evolution and its social implications. He is best known for his 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. The book chronicles the 1925 trial of high school biology teacher John Scopes, who was arrested for teaching the theory of evolution. The trial pitted lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryant in a battle about the teaching of evolution and creationism in public schools.

Dr. Larson’s other books include: Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution; Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South; and Evolution’s Workshop: God and Science on the Galapagos Islands, which chronicles the history of science and environmental protection on these islands. Among his numerous publications are two co-authored technical books on law and medicine and 12 law review articles.

His research primarily focuses on issues of law, science and medicine from a historical perspective and has been featured in such publications as Nature, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Virginia Law Review, and British Journal for the History of Science. He has lectured at universities in Australia, Europe, Africa, China and New Zealand. As a result of his book on the Scopes trial, he has been interviewed on major programs for PBS, the History Channel, CNN and C-SPAN.

In 2000, Dr. Larson won the George Sarton Award and delivered the prestigious George Sarton Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The award honors scholarship in the history of science and is jointly sponsored by AAAS and the History of Science Society. The Fulbright Program named him the John Adams Chair in American Studies in 2001.