J. Craig Venter and The Voyage of the Sorcerer II: a conversation and book signing with the celebrated genome scientist

by Earth & Oceanographic Science

Lecture Open to the Public

Tue, Oct 17, 2023

7:30 PM – 9 PM EDT (GMT-4)

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Dr. J. Craig Venter will be discussing The Voyage of Sorcerer II: The Expedition That Unlocked the Secrets of the Ocean’s Microbiome.

Beginning the evening with a conversation between Craig Venter and David Conover (Bowdoin ’83), questions will be welcomed from the audience and then we'll move to the lobby of Kresge Auditorium for  book signing and a small reception. There will be some books on hand for sale.
The Voyage of Sorcerer II: The Expedition That Unlocked the Secrets of the Ocean’s Microbiome is a captivating story of exploration and discovery. The Voyage of Sorcerer II restores microbes to their rightful place as crucial partners in our evolutionary past and guides to our future.

Upon completing his historic work on the Human Genome Project, J. Craig Venter declared that he would sequence the genetic code of all life on earth. Thus began a fifteen-year quest to collect DNA from the world’s oldest and most abundant form of life: microbes. Boarding the Sorcerer II, a 100-foot sailboat turned research vessel, Venter traveled over 65,000 miles around the globe to sample ocean water and the microscopic life within.

In The Voyage of Sorcerer II, Venter and science writer David Ewing Duncan tell the remarkable story of these expeditions and of the momentous discoveries that ensued―of plant-like bacteria that get their energy from the sun, proteins that metabolize vast amounts of hydrogen, and microbes whose genes shield them from ultraviolet light. The result was a massive library of millions of unknown genes, thousands of unseen protein families, and new lineages of bacteria that revealed the unimaginable complexity of life on earth. Yet despite this exquisite diversity, Venter encountered sobering reminders of how human activity is disturbing the delicate microbial ecosystem that nurtures life on earth. In the face of unprecedented climate change, Venter and Duncan show how we can harness the microbial genome to develop alternative sources of energy, food, and medicine that might ultimately avert our destruction.

This book and the research behind it “will undoubtedly shape our understanding of the global ecosystem for decades to come.”

―Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies

Food Provided (Small reception and book signing to follow.)

Hosted By

Earth & Oceanographic Science | Website | View More Events
Co-hosted with: Earth & Oceanographic Science (OWNER), Biology, Schiller Coastal Studies Center

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