Elizabeth Bernays (courtesy of Linda Hitchcock)

Elizabeth Bernays,

Regents Professor of Entomology Emerita,

U. of A.

Thursday, October 17, 2019,

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.,

The Arizona Senior Academy Building

The painted lady butterfly, Venessa cardui, is the most widely distributed butterfly in the world and has an unusual migration pattern. Painted ladies are irruptive migrants, meaning that they migrate independently of any seasonal or geographic patterns.  Elizabeth Bernays will present a short story of how, like the painted lady butterflies that fascinated her as a child in Queensland, Australia, she has lived a migratory adventure, following her scientific curiosity around the world before landing at the University of Arizona.  

Painted Lady Butterfly, courtesy of thoughtco.com

Her lecture will involve readings from her recently published book, Six Legs Walking: Notes from an Entomological Life, to demonstrate her evolution from backward child to successful biologist – exploring scholarship, culture, travel and love, while immersed in the wonders of some of the smallest creatures on earth. Six Legs Walking tells the inspiring story of one woman’s lifelong love affair with science.

Elizabeth Bernays grew up in Australia, before moving to England where she taught high school and earned a Ph.D. in entomology at the University of London. She worked as a British government scientist for thirteen years in London and in developing countries. In 1983, she became professor of entomology at the University of California Berkeley and, in 1989, was appointed Regents’ Professor at the University of Arizona. 

After retiring, Bernays earned an MFA in creative writing at the University of Arizona. She has published over two hundred scientific papers, including several popular biology articles. Bernays has also published poems and essays in a variety of literary journals, and has published two non-fiction and three children’s books (with Linda Hitchcock). She currently lives in historic downtown Tucson.

Written by Carol and Donald Gilzinger, Academy Village Volunteers


Oct. 17: “Six Legs Walking: Notes from an Entomological Life”