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2017 Speaker: Biologist & Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, PhD

"Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst"
A Lecture by Robert Sapolsky, PhD

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
6:30 p.m.
Mandell Theater

33rd and Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia PA, 19104

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Why do we do the things we do? Robert Sapolsky, PhD — biologist, neuroscientist and stress expert — will explore the topic of his forthcoming book, a genre-shattering attempt to answer this question as fully as perhaps only he could. Sapolsky's storytelling is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts with the factors that influence a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time, in stages, ultimately ending with the deep history of our species and its genetic inheritance. The result is a captivating exploration of the science of human behavior that harvests the latest research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill.

Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, war and peace.

About Robert Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky, PhD, is a biologist and neuroscientist, stress expert, and science and nature writer. He is also a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya, and professor of biology, neurology and neurosurgery at Stanford University.

Sapolsky is the author of “The Trouble with Testosterone”, “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers,” “Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals” and “A Primate’s Memoir,” which won the 2001 Bay Area Book Reviewers Award in nonfiction.

In 2008, he was awarded Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, and his research on stress was the feature of an hour-long special that aired on PBS with National Geographic. In addition to his biweekly column for the Wall Street Journal, “Mind & Matter,” Sapolsky’s writing has appeared in publications such as Discover and The New Yorker. His new book, “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst,” is due out this spring.

About the Distinguished Lecture Series

The College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Drexel’s Mandell Theater on April 12, 2017, and will be followed by a book signing. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and are now available online.

Sapolsky will join the growing list of accomplished CoAS distinguished lecturers, which includes author Sir Salman Rushdie, media maven Arianna Huffington, neuroscientist David Eagleman, religion scholar and author Reza Aslan, designer and urban planner Candy Chang, and award-winning novelist Zadie Smith.

Please direct any inquiries regarding the event to Jennifer Yusin at