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BSPP2009: Darwin to Disease: Crops and their Pathogens.
21st September 2009 - 22nd September 2009
President: Sarah Gurr
The BSPP Presidential Meeting in 2009 had a very special theme: to celebrate the bicentenary of Charles Darwin and the influence of his theory to the science of plant pathology. We debated the major crops and their pathogens, reflected on the past and contemplated the future. An exciting list of speakers ensured an interesting debate – and their challenge was to bring Mr Darwin into their presentation. There was also be a champagne reception in the Dinosaur Gallery and a Presidential dinner at Somerville College.
Welcome from the President
Welcome to the 2009 BSPP Presidential Meeting, here at The Oxford University Museum of Natural History. In 1860 this was the venue for the now legendary encounter between The Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce and Zoologist Thomas Henry Huxley. Here, Wilberforce poured scorn upon Darwin’s “Origin of Species” and a lively debate followed. Best remembered is the heated Wilberforce-Huxley exchange, where Wilberforce asked Huxley if he thought that his descent from a monkey was on his grandfather or grandmother’s side of the family. Huxley retorted that he would rather be related to a monkey than be associated with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth. So intense was the debate that one member of the audience fainted.
In 2009, this is the venue for our day-long, talk-filled conference on “Crops and Disease”. The speakers have been chosen because of the excellence and relevance of their work to the security of our major crops. Each has been charged with commenting, albeit briefly, on the impact of Darwin’s work on their research. I hope this will stimulate some lively debate but not induce fainting in the aisles.
Steve Whisson, Chris Ridout, Sarah Gurr
We would like to thank Jasper Johnson, Marketa Samalova, Solange
Mateo Montalcini, all staff at Somerville College, The Natural History
Museum, and A&J Catering for their help in organising this conference.