MAILED: April 18, 2000
Virologist Anne Simon, who has served as an informal science adviser for the hit television series and the movie "The X-Files," will be presented on The Forum lecture series Monday, May 1, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Her presentation titled "The Real Science Behind 'The X-Files': Microbes, Meteorites and Mutants" will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium. Centering on the future of genetics and the blending of science and pop culture, Simon's lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a reception.
Simon has distinguished herself as professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997. Her major research interests are viral and subviral RNA replication and recombination, plant susceptibility and resistance to viruses, and symptom expression of subviral RNAs.
She also has made a name for herself through her work on "The X-Files," the popular science fiction television show that chronicles the work of two FBI agents who investigate unsolved cases relating to the paranormal and other unexplained phenomena. Simon was the subject of a 1998 People magazine profile titled "The X-Pert," and she even inspired the role of an ill-fated microbiologist named Anne Carpenter in an "X-Files" episode titled "The Erlenmeyer Flask."
Simon's book, "The Real Science Behind 'The X-Files,'" was published by Simon & Schuster last October.
"I wrote this book for my parents, very intelligent people with no science background at all," says Simon. "There's so much science in the headlines, and people are science phobic. If they read this book, they'll understand what gene therapy is, what cloning is, and what genetic engineering is. They'll understand what chromosomes and nucleotides are. They can base their opinions and votes on real knowledge rather than on fear."
"With their white coats and pocket protectors, scientists are often seen as modern sorcerers dabbling in incomprehensible mysteries and speaking in strange tongues," wrote The New York Times. "'The X-Files,' and especially Simon's book, have clarified some of these mysteries, and that can only be a good thing."
The book appeals to a range of people, from die-hard fans to people who've never seen "The X-Files," says Simon. "People who give science a chance will find that it's fun. Science isn't boring."
Admission is $7 for the public, $5 for those age 62 and older and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, or $3 for those age 17 and younger and UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the University Service Center in Davies Center and will be sold at the door.
Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
During the presentation, free parking is available on campus in the Hibbard and Phillips parking lots.
The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: May 16, 2000