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UMSL to host interdisciplinary conference

Starting on Thursday, the University of Missouri-St. Louis is hosting a conference on “consilience.”

The three-day conference will explore the interface between biology, the social sciences, and the humanities.

UMSL evolutionary ecologist Patty Parker says she and the other conference organizers sought out speakers from a range of academic fields.

“Six people representing biology, six people representing humanities, six people representing social sciences, so we have these 18 major speakers, and three of them, one representing each of those disciplines, will speak in each half-day.”

The conference keynote speaker, ecologist Edward O. Wilson, pioneered the field of sociobiology, which examines the evolutionary basis of social behavior.

Véronique LaCapra first caught the radio bug while writing commentaries for NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. After producing her first audio pieces at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in N.C., she was hooked! She has done ecological research in the Brazilian Pantanal; regulated pesticides for the Environmental Protection Agency in Arlington, Va.; been a freelance writer and volunteer in South Africa; and contributed radio features to the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She earned a Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in environmental policy and biology from Cornell. LaCapra grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and in her mother’s home town of Auxerre, France.