May 8 – Life By Design: A Century of Synthetic Biology

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Presented in partnership with VCU’s Science, Technology and Society Program

History and science are on tap when Dr. Luis Campos walks into a bar on May 8th to talk about the evolution of synthetic biology.

Luis Campos, PhD
Dr. Campos is historian of science at the University of New Mexico and a Senior Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy.  His scholarship integrates archival discoveries with contemporary fieldwork at the intersection of genetics and society. Dr. Campos earned his doctorate at Harvard University, is the author of Radium and the Secret of Life (University of Chicago Press, 2015), and is co-editor of Making Mutations: Objects, Practices, Contexts (Berlin, MPIWG, 2010). 

Room for 100+ curious minds  –  Seating on a first-come basis  –  Registration not required — Though if you know you’ll be having a nosh, making optional dinner reservations will help the venue plan — Click here to do that on The Tin Pan’s website.

As always, ordering food is not required and sipping on a glass of water is completely copacetic.  Click here if you would like to indicate “Going” on Facebook   

Newspapers today are full of accounts of the future marvels of “synthetic biology,” a new approach to engineering life. But even a century ago, Room for 100+ curious minds – Seating on a first-come basis – Registration not required of bringing evolution under control and of developing a “technology of the living substance” were widespread. “Genetic engineering” was coined as early as the 1930s, coinciding with visions of amateurs in their gardens innovating a new backyard biology. Even the production of life itself in the test tube was a highly sought after and scarcely questionable goal. With the rise of recombinant DNA technologies in the 1970s, however, new and more complex meanings began to emerge as probing questions of promise and peril when engineering life–questions of safety, “violating species boundaries,” and even eugenical concerns–came to the fore in a way inconceivable to earlier investigators. A generation later, by 2004, when “synthetic biology” emerged as the latest newcomer it sought to inaugurate what was billed as a cool and revolutionary redesign of living systems to accomplish human-desired functions ranging from the whimsical to the urgent. In this talk, Prof. Campos traces these dramatic claims and profound reworkings of life promised by each generation of investigators, from the experimental garden to novel forms of synthetic life today, in an effort to explore the larger history of “life by design” over the past century.

Monday, May 8, 2017
The Tin Pan
8982 Quioccasin Road    Richmond, VA 23229

5:45  Doors Open
7:00  Program Starts
8:00  Program Concludes

If you’re flying solo and keen to meet other curious minds, let us know when you arrive and we’ll point you toward a community table.  In the meantime, use #SciPubRVA to get social with us on Twitter and Instagram.

Note:  By attending this event, you consent to the recording of your likeness, image, and/or voice and authorize The Community Idea Stations and Virginia Commonwealth University to use photographs, video, and audio recordings containing your likeness, image, and/or voice in any medium for any purpose.  


What time should I arrive?
Come early and enjoy a drink and/or a bite or arrive just before the program starts. Seating is on a first-come basis. While making dinner reservations is optional, it will help the venue plan.  If your plans later change, please remember to cancel, as you would any dinner reservation.

How do I get there?
Click here for a map.  The Tin Pan has a large well-lit parking lot.

Do I have to be 21?
This program is designed for adults 18 and over. Some of our events are in 21+ venues. We’ll make that clear whenever it applies.

I don’t drink alcohol, do you ever have any non-pub events?
Pub is in our name, but sipping on a glass of water is completely copacetic. Our focus is more about enjoying the night’s topic and each other, and less about whatever liquids are in hand. While we’re often in bars, it’s not always the case. Subscribe below for emails and we’ll send location and other details to you two weeks before each event.

Will there be food?
They’d love to serve you dinner, but ordering food and drink is not a requirement for attending Science Pub. Click here to see their menu. The venue would appreciate it if you make dinner reservations to facilitate better service.