Award-winning author to discuss ‘Americas Before Columbus’ in URI Honors Colloquium lecture, Oct. 7

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KINGSTON, R.I. – September 25, 2008 – Charles Mann, journalist and author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, will discuss how humans transformed the New World before the arrival of Europeans as part of the University of Rhode Island’s annual fall Honors Colloquium.

Free and open to the public, the lecture will be held Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium on URI’s Kingston Campus.

The 2008 Honors Colloquium, “People and Planet: Global Environmental Change,” explores human-caused global change, its consequences and potential responses through a series of lectures, films, exhibits and a cabaret. Weekly events run through Dec. 9.

A correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, Science and Wired, Mann has written about the intersection of science, technology and commerce for many newspapers and magazines, including Forbes, Smithsonian, Paris-Match and The Washington Post.

Mann’s book, 1491, won a National Academy of Sciences’ award as the best book of the year. “In a riveting and fast-paced history, massing archeological, anthropological, scientific and literary evidence, Mann debunks much of what we thought we knew about pre-Columbian America,” according to Publishers Weekly. The Miami Herald called it “engagingly written and utterly absorbing… part detective story, part epic and part tragedy.”

A three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award, Mann has received writing prizes from the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Physics and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has co-written four other books, including The Aspirin Wars: Money, Medicine and 100 Years of Rampant Competition, and Noah’s Choice: The Future of Endangered Species. He has also written for CD-ROMs, HBO and the television program Law and Order.

The next Honors Colloquium event will feature Stanford University marine ecologist Stephen Palumbi discussing “The Impact of Global Environmental Change on Evolution.” It will take place Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

The major sponsors of the 2008 Honors Colloquium are the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, the URI Office of the President, the URI Honors Program, the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and the College of Arts and Sciences. Additional support came from the Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment, the Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment, the deans of the remaining URI colleges, the offices of the URI vice presidents, the EPA Atlantic Ecology Division and Rhode Island Sea Grant.

For further details about the colloquium, including an updated schedule and information on parking, go to or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or