Photo of Edward J. Larson, Ph.D.

Edward J. Larson, Ph.D.
University Professor and Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law

Office: School of Law (SOL)

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1984
  • J.D., Harvard University, 1979
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1976
  • B.A., Williams College, 1974

SSRN Author Page

The author of nine books and nearly one hundred published articles, Edward Larson teaches, lectures, and writes about issues of law, politics, science, and medicine from an historical perspective. His books include A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign (2008), Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (2004), Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South (1995), Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution (1985, 1989, and 2002 expanded editions), the Pulitzer Prize winning Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (1997), and The Return of George Washington: 1783-1984 (2014). His book, An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science (2011) was a finalist for the 2012 Hessell-Tiltman Prize in History and received the Georgia Writers Award in History. Larson's articles have appeared in such varied journals as American History, Nature, Atlantic Monthly, Scientific American, Isis, The Nation, Wall Street Journal, Wilson Quarterly, The Georgia Review, Constitutional Commentary, and over a dozen different law reviews. He is the co-author or co-editor of six additional books, including The Constitutional Convention: A Narrative History from the Notes of James Madison (2005).

The recipient of several awards for excellence in teaching, Larson has taught courses in first-year property and health-care law for over twenty years at the University of Georgia and Pepperdine University. He served as a visiting professor of law at Stanford University in 2012 and was a visiting professor teaching American Constitutional Law at the University of Melbourne in 2011. He is the author of a widely-used property law casebook. Larson also lectures widely and participates in conferences and academic programs. He has delivered endowed or named addresses at dozens of colleges or universities, including Duke University, California Institute of Technology, Yale University, and Vanderbilt University, and spoken to scientific, legal, judicial, and medical groups across the country. Larson was a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study Center in 1996, delivered the Fulbright Program's John Adams Chair in American Studies for 2001; was the AAAS's Sarton Award Lecture in 2000; participated in the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Writers and Artists program in 2003-04; and received an honorary doctorate degree from Ohio State University in 2004. From 2006 to 2009, he was a panelist on the National Institutes of Health's Study Section for Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues of the Human Genome Project. He is interviewed frequently for broadcast and print media, including The Daily Show and multiple appearances on PBS, BBC, the History Channel, C-SPAN, and NPR. He earned a BA from Williams College, a JD from Harvard, and a PhD in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2013-14 he will be a Fellow at the Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.

Key Awards/Affiliations
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar, John Adams Chair
  • 2003-04, Participant, Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, National Science Foundation,
  • 2003 American Spirit Award, Conference on Southern Literature,
  • 2001 Christ-Janer Award for Outstanding Research in the Humanities, Univ. of GA,
  • 2000-01 John Adams Chair of American History, Fulbright Program, University of Leiden, The Netherlands,
  • 2000 George Sarton Lecture, American Association for Advancement of Science,
  • 1999 National Civil Liberties Award, American Civil Liberties Union,
  • 1998 Pulitzer Prize for History,
  • 1998 American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award Finalist,
  • 1998 Washington State Governor's Writers Award,
  • 1998 Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Certificate of Recognition,
  • 1997 Templeton Prize for Outstanding Article in Science and Religion,
  • Resident Scholar, Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study Center, Italy, 1996,
  • Richard B. Russell Award for Undergraduate Teaching, University of Georgia, 1992,
  • Parks-Heggoy Award for Excellence in Teaching History, University of Georgia, 1989,
  • University Fellow, University of Wisconsin, 1983-84,
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa, Williams College, 1974,


All | Books | Book Chapters | Articles | Forthcoming | Popular Press


  • Edward J. Larson, Teaching Creation, Evolution, and the New Atheism in 21st Century America: Window on an Evolving Establishment Clause, 82 MISS L.J. 997 (2013) HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, The Constitutionality of Lame Duck Lawmaking: The Text, History, Intent, and Original Meaning of the Twentieth Amendment, UTAH L. REV. 707 (2012) SSRN
  • Edward J. Larson, Medical Rationing, Death Panels and the Rising Cost of Health Care, 33 WHITTIER L. REV. 13 (2011) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, Putting Buck v. Bell in Scientific and Historical Context: A Response to Victoria Nourse, 39 PEPP. L. REV. 119 (2011) (symposium) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, Greater Glory: Why Scott Let Amundsen Win the Race to the South Pole, SCIENTIFIC AM., May 27, 2011, at 32
  • Edward J. Larson, 2011 Anti-Canonical Considerations, 39 PEPP. L. REV. 1 (2011) (symposium) HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, Antarctica: Turning the World Upside Down, NATURE, Dec. 2011, at 29
  • Edward J. Larson, Public Science for a Global Empire: The British Quest for the South Magnetic Pole, 102 ISIS 34 (2011)
  • Edward J. Larson, The Natural History of Hell: The Galapagos Before Darwin, PROCEEDINGS OF THE CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, Sept. 2010, at 37
  • Edward J. Larson, Poles Apart: Scott, Amundsen and Science, 35 ENDEAVOUR 129 (2011)
  • Edward J. Larson, An American Tragedy: Retelling the Leopold-Loeb Story in Popular Culture, 50 AM. J. LEGAL HIST. 119 (2010) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, "I Had No Intention to Write Atheistically": Darwin, God, and the 2500-Year History of the Debate, RELIGION DISPATCHES, Nov. 24, 2009
  • Edward J. Larson, The Reception of Darwinism in the Nineteenth Century, 21 SCIENCE AND CHRISTIAN BELIEF 3 (2009)
  • Edward J. Larson, Prejudiced Results: Darwin and Race, BOOKFORUM, Feb./Mar. 2009, at 36
  • Edward J. Larson, Murder Will Out: Rethinking the Right of Publicity Through One Classic Case, 62 RUTGERS L. REV. 131 (2009) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, Approaching the Rubicon and Crossing the Bar: Washington's Death and the Rise of Republican Rule, 62 GEORGIA REV. 551 (2008)
  • Edward J. Larson, Religion vs. Science: America's Perilous Fight, RELIGION DISPATCHES, May 8, 2008
  • Edward J. Larson, Time for Another Jubilee, USA TODAY, Jan. 14, 2008
  • Edward J. Larson, David Depew & Ronald Isetti, Inheriting Inherit the Wind: Debating the Play as a Teaching Tool, 1 EVOLUTION EDUCATION AND OUTREACH 150 (2008)
  • Edward J. Larson, The Politics of History, WALL ST. J., Feb. 6, 2008
  • Edward J. Larson & Larry Withman, Scienziati e Religione in America, 73 SAPERE, Feb. 2007, at 58
  • Edward J. Larson, Declarations of Faith, TIME, Nov. 12, 2007
  • Edward J. Larson, Infidels at the Gates: Science and Religion in the 1800 Election: Lesson for Today?, SCIENCE AND SPIRIT, Jul/Aug 2007 at 45
  • Edward J. Larson, The Revolution of 1800, AMERICAN HISTORY, Dec. 2007, at 26
  • Edward J. Larson & Marc Dettmann, The Impact of HSAs on Health Care Reform: Preliminary Results After One Year, 40 WAKE FOREST L. REV. 1087 (2005) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, Building a Nation From Thirteen States: The Constitutional Convention and Preemption, 33 PEPP. L. REV. 7 (2005) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, From Cruzan to Schiavo: Similar Bedfellows in Fact and at Law, 22 CONST. COMMENT. 405 (2005) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, Tailored Genes, LEGAL AFFAIRS, Nov.-Dec. 2003, at 56
  • Edward J. Larson, The Meaning of Human Gene Testing for Disability Rights, 70 U. CIN. L. REV. 913 (2001-02) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson & Dan T. Coenen, Congressional Power Over Presidential Elections: Lessons From the Past and Reforms for the Future, 43 WM. & MARY L. REV 851 (2002) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, Law and Society in the Courtroom: Introducing the Trials of the Century, 68 UMKC L. REV. 543 (2000) SSRN HeinOnline
  • Edward J. Larson, Tales of Death: Storytelling in the Physician-Assisted Suicide Litigation, 39 WASHBURN L.J. 159 (1999-2000) SSRN HeinOnline

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