Tuesday, April 14, 1998

PRINT MEDIA CONTACT: Sharron Hannon 706/542-1024

BROADCAST MEDIA CONTACT: Pete Konenkamp 706/542-8080

Ed Larson taught a couple of classes at the University of Georgia Tuesday morning, then hopped on a plane to Michigan to deliver a lecture. When he arrived at his hotel, he was greeted by a smiling desk clerk who told him, "We have a lot of messages for you."

The messages were from staff members in the University Communications office back at UGA and from dozens of reporters trying to reach Larson to get his reaction to the news that his book, "Summer of the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion," had won a Pulitzer Prize for history.

And his reaction? "I was dumbfounded," says Larson. "This is beyond my wildest dreams."

Meanwhile, back in Athens, UGA President Michael F. Adams shared news of the award with several hundred faculty members and students gathered in the University Chapel to hear an afternoon lecture on religion in modern America by University of Chicago scholar Martin Marty. The audience -- including the speaker -- responded with cheers and enthusiastic applause.

History department chair David Roberts, on hearing the news, commented that Larson is "a terrific writer with a knack for concise and elegant expression. He also writes amazingly fast, which makes him the envy of his history department colleagues," Roberts said.

Larson, 44, a faculty member at UGA since 1987, holds a joint appointment with the School of Law and the history department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

He was a 1992 recipient of the Richard B. Russell Award for Undergraduate Teaching at the university. The awards committee noted that "he brings to the classroom a varied background that mixes scholarship with experience as a lawyer in government and private practice."

Before coming to UGA, Larson was counsel in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement of the U.S. Department of Education 1986-87; associate counsel, Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. Congress 1983-86; attorney with Davis, Wright & Jones of Seattle 1979-82; counsel, Washington State House of Representatives 1981-82; and analyst, Wisconsin State Senate, 1974-76.

Larson holds both a law degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin. His research examines the intersection of science, religion and law in American culture, focusing on evolution, eugenics, creationism and similar controversial issues.