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MEDIA CONTACT: Paige Garrido

FAU Launches 2014 Frontiers in Science Public Lecture Series with Professor John Long

BOCA RATON, Fla. (January 3, 2014) – Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science will launch its Frontiers in Science 2014 public lecture series with a presentation by John Long, Ph.D., titled “Darwin’s Devices: Biorobots Reconstruct the Evolution of Ancient Animals.” The lecture will take place on Friday, Jan. 10 at 3:30 p.m. in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Room 126, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

Long, co-founder and director of the interdisciplinary robotics research laboratory at Vassar College, will focus his lecture on how evolving biorobots – autonomous models of animals – can allow scientists to reconstruct how extinct animals might have behaved, interacted with the world and evolved.

“The challenge of studying evolution is that the history of life is buried in the past – we can’t witness the dramatic events that shaped the adaptations we see today,” said Long. “Evolving biorobots can help answer some of the most compelling questions about evolution.”

Long’s research entails creating robots that look and behave like extinct animals, subjecting them to evolutionary pressures, letting them compete for mates and resources and mutating their “genes.”  These evolving biorobots can replicate creatures that disappeared from the earth long ago, showing scientists in real time what happens in the face of unexpected environmental challenges.

 “Dr. Long’s research is fascinating and is an excellent topic to kick off this year’s Frontiers in Science public lecture series,” said Russell Ivy, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Science. “This annual lecture series has been an ongoing success for more than a decade, and is well attended by a wide-ranging group of community members, from retired CEOs and faculty to business owners, teachers and physicians.”

 All lectures are free and open to the public.  No registration is necessary.  The series is sponsored by the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and supported by FAU’s Lifelong Learning Society Endowed Professorship in Science. Printing and mailing of lecture series materials are made possible by a donation from Bank of America.

 For more information, contact Tarra Smith at 561-297-3035 or, or visit


About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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