Edward J. Larson

Edward John Larson (born September 21, 1953, in Mansfield, Ohio)[1] is an American historian and legal scholar. He is university professor of history and holds the Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University. He was formerly Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law and Richard B. Russell Professor of American History at the University of Georgia.[2] He continues to serve as a senior fellow of the University of Georgia's Institute of Higher Education, and is currently a professor at Pepperdine School of Law, where he teaches several classes including Property for the 1Ls.

Edward J. Larson
Larson at the 2015 National Book Festival
Larson at the 2015 National Book Festival
Born (1953-09-21) September 21, 1953 (age 68)
Mansfield, Ohio
Alma materWilliams College
Harvard University
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Genrehistory of science
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize for History

Background and educationEdit

Larson was born in Mansfield, Ohio, and attended Mansfield public schools. He graduated from Williams College and received his J.D. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. As a child, Larson hosted Martin Luther King Jr. in his home. During batting practice before the game where Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record, Larson caught a ball hit by Hank Aaron. The ball was later signed by Hank Aaron and kept by Larson. Larson also has met and had lunch with the famous Michelle Triola. Triola was involved in a popular case regarding property between unmarried partners (her and Lee Marvin), which can be found in Larson's textbook. Larson is married and has two children, Sarah and Luke.


Larson has lectured on topics in the history of science, religion, and law at universities across the United States and in Canada, China, Britain, Australia, and South America. The author of books and articles dealing with voyages of scientific exploration, he has also given lectures at natural history museums and on cruise boats. His articles have appeared in Nature, Scientific American, The Nation, American History, Time, and various academic history and law journals.

Larson received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion.[2] The book argues that Inherit the Wind (both the play and the movie) misrepresented the actual Scopes Trial. Unlike in that play and movie, in which reason and tolerance triumph over religiously motivated, unsophisticated anti-evolutionists, Larson's book portrays the trial as an opening salvo in an enduring twentieth-century cultural war involving powerful national forces in science, religion, law and politics. "Indeed," he concludes in the book, "the issues raised by the Scopes trial and legend endure precisely because they embody the characteristically American struggle between individual liberty and majoritarian democracy, and cast it in the timeless debate over science and religion."[3]

In 2004 Larson received an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from The Ohio State University. He held the Fulbright Program's John Adams Chair in American Studies in 2000-01 and participated in the National Science Foundation's 2003 Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. He was a founding fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion.

In 2005 Larson was interviewed by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on evolution alongside William Dembski and Ellie Crystal.[4] Frequently interviewed on American television and radio, Larson has also appeared multiple times on C-SPAN, including as a featured guest on Booknotes; PBS, including as a historian on Nova and American Experience; NPR, including as a featured guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, The Diane Rehm Show, and Talk of the Nation - Science Friday; and History (U.S. TV channel). He has a course on the history of the theory of evolution with The Teaching Company. Larson received the Richard Russell Teaching Award from the University of Georgia and was a charter member of the university's Teaching Academy.

Dr. Larson is a former Fellow at Seattle's Discovery Institute but according to an article in The New York Times by Jodi Wilgoren, “...left in part because of its drift to the right.”[5] According to science writer Chris Mooney, Larson joined the institute "prior to its antievolution awakening."[6] At the time, Larson lived in Washington state and the Seattle-based Discovery Institute dealt with Northwest regional issues. In a talk at the Pew Forum entitled "The Biology Wars: The Religion, Science and Education Controversy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-09., Larson said "Behe has never developed his arguments for intelligent design in peer-reviewed science articles."


Awards and honorsEdit


  1. ^ www.encyclopedia.com
  2. ^ a b Smith, Loran (February 5, 2004). "Larson's outstanding legacy as a Bulldog will not evolve". Athens Banner-Herald. Morris Communications. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  3. ^ Larson, Edward, Summer for the Gods, Basic Books, 1997, p. 265, ISBN 0-465-07509-6.
  4. ^ "Evolution, Schmevolution - Panel". The Daily Show. September 14, 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  5. ^ Jodi Wilgoren, Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive, The New York Times, August 21, 2005.
  6. ^ Mooney, Chris, The Republican War on Science, Basic Books, 2005, dio: 10.1177/1075547006302661, ISBN 978-0-465-04675-1
  7. ^ Larson, Edward J. (2018-03-13). To the Edges of the Earth: 1909, the Race for the Three Poles, and the Climax of the Age of Exploration. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-256451-1.
  8. ^ McKinney, Gordon B. (1998). "Review of Summer of the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion". Appalachian Journal. 25 (2): 203–205. JSTOR 40933890.
  9. ^ Gatewood, Willard B. (1986). "Review of Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution". The Georgia Historical Quarterly. 70 (2): 371–373. JSTOR 40581530.
  10. ^ Fleming, Donald (1987). "Review of Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution". Law and History Review. 5 (2): 573–576. doi:10.2307/743899. JSTOR 743899.
  11. ^ "84th Annual California Book Awards Winners".
  12. ^ "Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards for 2017 | National Center for Science Education".

External linksEdit