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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

H1N1 — The Evolution of a Deadly Virus
What Diseases Tell Us About Evolution

Carl Zimmer photo by Ben Stechschulte

The topic of this lecture was originally supposed to be “The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution”.

Carl Zimmer, an award-winning science writer for the New York Times, Discover magazine, Scientific American, and others takes readers on a frightening tour of the H1N1 flu virus, how it evolved, and what deadly diseases tell us about how evolution works. Reviewing the history of influenza going back over a century, including a complete analysis of the 1918 influenza outbreak that killed tens of millions of people around the world, Zimmer includes remarkable graphics demonstrating exactly what happens from the moment a virus enters a body to the death of its human host. Along the way Zimmer reveals how vital evolution is to all branches of modern biology — from the fight against deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the analysis of the human genome.

Carl Zimmer is the author of seven books, including Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea and Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life.

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