CORVALLIS - The 1999 Condon Lecture at Oregon State University on Thursday, Oct. 14, will feature the person who discovered the Earth's oldest fossils.

S. William Schopf, the director of UCLA's Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life, will speak at 8 p.m. in the LaSells Stewart Center on the topic, "Cradle of Life." The illustrated lecture is free and open to the public.

This year Schopf published a new book titled "Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils." These were 3.5 billion-year-old remnants of creatures that resemble the bacteria deposited on mounds on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. As strings of tiny cells that have no nuclei, scientists say they created the life-giving oxygen of our atmosphere, and were ancestors to all of today's plants and animals.

Schopf, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has received a NASA award for his lunar studies, several other major awards, and has pursued geological and biological field studies all over the world.

The annual Condon Lecture is one of the oldest formal lectures at the university, named for Thomas Condon, a pioneer of Oregon geology.

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George Moore, 541-737-1244