Campus News

Noah, Flood Origins Discussed at Kibbe Lecture

Story posted April 15, 1999


April 16, 1999, BRUNSWICK, Maine -- William B. F. Ryan, a scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, will discuss possible origins to stories about a great flood that are found in the Bible and other ancient writings. The lecture is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 19, in Cleaveland 151, Druckenmiller Hall, Bowdoin College. It is free and open to the public.

In "The Abrupt Flooding of the Black Sea 5600 B.C.: Was Noah There?" Ryan will discuss the research that led to his book "Noah's Flood."

Ryan and another scientist at the observatory have found evidence that in about 5600 B.C. the area around the Black Sea was inundated suddenly by salt water from the Mediterranean.

Ryan believes that the flood may have been the origin for the story of Noah in the Bible and another flood story in the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh. He believes also that the flood may have helped spread agriculture to northern and eastern Europe by sending farmers in flight from the Black Sea area in search of dry land. "Noah's Flood" will be on sale at the Bowdoin Bookstore.

Ryan is a senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. He has also served as associate director of the observatory's marine geology and geophysics division. He has participated in research voyages to the Black Sea, North Atlantic and the Labrador Sea. In 1993 the Society for Sedimental Geology awarded him the Shepard Medal of Excellence in 1993. Ryan is the second Kibbe Lecturer. Frank Kibbe and his wife, Lucy established the lectureship in 1994. The lectureship brings scholars to talk on topics considered to be on the "cutting edge" of or associated with new research findings in Astronomy or Geology.

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