UCSB Arts & Lectures will present physician, cancer researcher and science writer Siddhartha Mukherjee in an important and highly anticipated public lecture titled “Where We Are on the War on Cancer,” based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies, at 3 p.m. Saturday at UCSB Campbell Hall.

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Tickets are $25 for the general public and $10 for UCSB students with a current student ID. For tickets or more information, click here or call 805.893.3535.

Mukherjee’s lecture is part of the campus’ Critical Issues in America Series, “Speculative Futures: Risk, Uncertainty, and Security.” The event is co-presented and supported by an anonymous gift to the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Currently the assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and staff physician at the Columbia University Medical Center, Mukherjee is best known as the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction and recently received the PEN American Center Literary Award for science writing for the book, in which he chronicles the history of cancer and illuminates its impact on the human race throughout the centuries.

The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer — from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control and conquer it, to a radical new understanding of its essence. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective and a biographer’s passion.

He weaves in his personal experiences as an oncologist and passionate researcher, while recounting centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with — and perished from — for more than five thousand years. O, The Oprah Magazine called the book “a compulsively readable, surprisingly uplifting and vivid tale. Thrilling.”

Arts & Lectures thanks Lynda.com for its major support of the 2011-12 season.

— Karna Hughes is a senior writer and publicist for UCSB Arts & Lectures.