Neil visits the University of California, Irvine and talks with Francisco Ayala in this episode. Francisco Ayala is University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He received his Ph.D. in genetics from Columbia University. Ayala has been president and chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and many foreign academies.
His scientific research focuses on population and evolutionary genetics, including the origin of species, genetic diversity of populations, the origin of malaria, the population structure of parasitic protozoa, and the molecular clock of evolution. He has published more than 1,000 articles and is author or editor of 37 books, Including Am I a Monkey? Six Big Questions about Evolution.
A former Dominican priest, Ayala also writes about the interface between religion and science, and on philosophical issues concerning epistemology, ethics, and the philosophy of biology. In 2002, he received the National Medal of Science from President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony, and he was the 2010 recipient of the Templeton Prize.