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Paul Ehrlich

population biology
(recorded in 2002)

Paul Ehrlich is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. Ehrlich's main area of research is population biology, which includes ecology, evolutionary biology, behavior and human ecology. Ehrlich has carried out field, laboratory, and theoretical research on a wide array of problems ranging from the dynamics and genetics of insect populations, studies of the ecological and evolutionary interactions of plants and herbivores, and the behavioral ecology of birds and reef fishes, to experimental studies of the effects of crowding on human beings. His fieldwork has carried him to all continents, from the arctic and the antarctic to the tropics, and from high mountains to the ocean floor. Ehrlich is the author and coauthor of more than 800 scientific papers and articles in the popular press and more than 35 books. He has appeared as a guest on TV and radio, and has been a correspondent for NBC TV. In addition, he has given hundreds of public lectures. He is originally from Pennsylvania and received his Ph.D. in 1957 from the University of Kansas.

Listen to the Interview (requires free RealPlayer software):

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Track 1
Ehrlich talks about the beginning of his career and his early work on DDT resistance in insects. (11 minutes)

Track 2
Ehrlich discusses his best-selling book The Population Bomb and his appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to discuss the book. He also discusses his interest in human population studies and human cultural evolution. (10 minutes)

Track 3
Ehrlich talks about the role of the media in informing debate and public opinion about scientific issues. (9 minutes)

Track 4
Ehrlich discusses how important it is for scientists to explain their work to the public to help encourage critical thinking. He also cautions against the abuse of scientific authority. (8 minutes)

Track 5
Ehrlich discusses his work on the concept of race and dismisses the belief held by some scientists in the past that a genetic correlation exists between skin color and other characteristics such as intelligence. (8 minutes)

Track 6
Ehrlich explains the importance of human cultural evolution and the interplay between genes and environment. (8 minutes)

Track 7
Ehrlich talks about his most important work and his recent work. He credits his students and colleagues who inspire him. (7 minutes)


Last Updated: 07-26-2004

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The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.

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