On this day in 1957, biologist Paul Zachary “PZ” Myers was born. Myers is a biology professor at the University of Minnesota-Morris. His specialty is developmental biology and he is a proud proponent of science, evolution and atheism. “Pharyngula,” his science blog, is partnered with National Geographic and has won numerous awards, including a 2005 Koufax Award for Best Expert Blog and an award from Nature. Myers was named Humanist of the Year in 2009 by the American Humanist Association, and won the International Humanist Award in 2011. Myers makes his religious beliefs clear on Pharyngula: “If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option.”
He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in zoology in 1979 and went on to earn his Ph.D in biology from the University of Oregon. Before going to UM-Morris, Myers worked at the University of Oregon, the University of Utah, and Temple University. Myers studies zebrafish and cephalopods, an ink-squirting class of marine animals, most notably octopuses and squids.