CORVALLIS, Ore. – For the first time, the OSU Horning Endowment in the Humanities Lecture Series will partner with the Outreach in Biotechnology’s Food for Thought Series to bring seven speakers to campus during 2007-2008 who will address the theme “Food for Thought: History, Technology, Gastronomy.” The speakers are drawn from the United States and abroad and include scientists, historians and a legal scholar. The lectures range from scientific, political and commercial issues in food technologies to histories of national and local food traditions and the haute cuisine of trendy molecular gastronomy.

Mary Jo Nye, Horning Professor of the Humanities and a professor of history, and Steven Strauss, a professor of forest science and head of the Outreach in Biotechnology Program, have organized the series, building on the “Food for Thought” lecture series of the last two years.

Nye, who is set to retire in June 2008, has always been fascinated by the history and science of food and decided this was a perfect subject for her last Horning lecture series.

“The Horning lectures have always been about bridging the gap between the humanities and the sciences, so what better way to do that by bringing together the ‘Food for Thought’ series, which tends to be focused on scientific issues, with a historical perspective?” Nye said.

Support for the series comes from the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities, the History Department, and the Wait and Lois Rising Lectureship Fund in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Roger Beachy, a geneticist and president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis will lead off the series with his lecture “Fulfilling the Promise of Crop Biotechnology for the Poor in Africa: Challenges for Science and Society.” His lecture is 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, in the La Sells Stewart Center C&E Auditorium.

Beachy is a pioneer in research on developing virus-resistant plants through biotechnology. His research led to the development of the world’s first genetically modified food crop, a virus-resistant tomato. Beachy has held academic positions at Washington University at St. Louis and at The Scripps Research Institute at La Jolla. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was the recipient of the 2001 international Wolf Prize in Agriculture. His lecture will address scientific, political, and ethical issues facing the use of transgenic crops. It will draw upon his laboratory’s basic research on plant biology and its applications to the improvement of crop plants grown for the poor in developing countries, including rice and sweet potato.

All public lectures are scheduled for 7 p.m. in the LaSells Stewart C&E Auditorium, with the exception of the lecture on Nov. 8, which will take place in OSU Memorial Union Room 208 at 4 p.m.

The rest of the speakers include:

Thursday, Nov. 8: “How to Cook an Egg and Other Lessons from the Kitchen-Lab: A History of Molecular Gastronomy,” Rachel Ankeny, University of Adelaide

Thursday, Nov. 15: “The Role and Rule of Law in the Global Development of Food Biotechnology,” Gary Marchant, Arizona State University

Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008: “Planet Taco: The Globalization of Mexican Cuisine,” Jeffrey Pilcher, University of Minnesota

Monday, Feb. 25, 2008: “Getting Biofuels Right: A Solution to the Biofuel versus Food and Environment Dilemma” David Tilman, University of Minnesota

Thursday, April 10, 2008: “The Apple of Our Eyes: Innovation, Art, and Ownership in American Fruits,” Daniel J. Kevles, Yale University

Thursday, May 15, 2008: “Eating Good in the Neighborhood: The Medical and Moral History of Dietary Localism,” Steven Shapin, Harvard University

For more information, contact the History Department at 541-737-3421 or go to

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Mary Jo Nye,