CORVALLIS, Ore. - Best known as the "father of the birth control pill," chemist and novelist Carl Djerassi will visit Oregon State University for a speech and performance on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m.

The free, public event will be held at the Construction and Engineering Hall of OSU's LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis.

Djerassi, a professor emeritus of chemistry at Stanford University, synthesized the first steroid female oral contraceptive in the early 1950s and he is widely credited as the father of the birth control pill. For his work in the fields of organic and environmental chemistry, he has received numerous major awards including the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology, and the Priestley Medal.

Djerassi is also a well-known cultural critic and a founder of the recent "science-in-fiction" and "science-in-theatre" literary genres, which attempt to represent contemporary science, scientific ethics, and the "tribal culture" of scientists within the confines of realism rather than fantasy. His major works in these fields include five novels and three plays.

Accompanied by OSU Theatre faculty member Charlotte Headrick, Djerassi will conclude his lecture titled "Science-in-Theatre on the Page and on the Stage" with a dramatic reading from his new play "Phallacy."

Djerassi is the first speaker of the 2012 Critical Questions lecture series, sponsored by the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, with support from the Horning Endowment in the Humanities.

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Felicia Phillips, 541-737-1667