Edward J. Larson

Biography

Ed LarsonEdward J. Larson holds the Hugh and Hazel Darling Chair in Law and is University Professor of History at Pepperdine University and recipient of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History. He served as Associate Counsel for the U.S. Congress Committee on Education and Labor (1983-87) and an attorney with a major Seattle law firm (1979-83) and retains an appointment at the University of Georgia, where he has taught since 1987.

The author of eight books and over one hundred published articles, Larson writes mostly about issues of science, medicine and law from an historical perspective. His books include An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science; A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (2007); Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (2005, 2006 rev. ed.); Evolution’s Workshop: God and Science in the Galapagos Islands (2001), Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South (1995), Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution (1985, 2003 rev. ed.) and the Pulitzer Prize winning Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (1997). Larson’s articles have appeared in such varied journals as Nature, Atlantic Monthly, Time, Isis, Science, Scientific American, The Nation, The Wilson Quarterly, American History, Virginia Law Review, Constitutional Commentary, and The Georgia Quarterly. He is the co-author or co-editor of eight additional books, including The Constitutional Convention: A Narrative History from the Notes of James Madison (2005) and The Essential Words and Writings of Clarence Darrow (2007). The Fulbright Program named Larson to the John Adams Chair in American Studies for 2001. He participated in the National Science Foundation’s 2003 Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. Larson has served on the National Institute of Health’s study section on ethical, legal, and social issues related to the Human Geonome Project and is a Senior Fellow of University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education.

Larson teaches, writes, and speaks on history, law, science, and bio-ethics for academic, professional, and public audiences. He has delivered invited addresses at over 80 universities, including Yale, Cambridge, Cal Tech, Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Duke and MIT. He is interviewed frequently for broadcast and print media, including multiple appearances on PBS, NPR, the History Channel, C-SPAN, and BBC. His course on the history of evolution theory is available from The Teaching Company.

Born in central Ohio, Larson attended Mansfield, Ohio, public schools. He earned a B.A. from Williams College (1974), a law degree from Harvard (1979), and a Ph.D. in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984), and received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the Ohio State University in 2004. Larson has held appointments as Visiting Professor of Law at Stanford University and University of Melbourne. He has taught course in Austria, China, Ecuador, France, the Netherlands, Israel, and New Zealand, and Italy. He is married to a pediatrician, Lucy Larson, and has two children, Sarah and Luke. They live in Malibu, California, and Athens, Georgia.

Titles by the Author