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Exploring Art, Nature, and City with the Ghost of Darwin

Artist’s talk with Gail Wight

Friday, November 13, 4:00- 6:00 PM

Artist Gail Wight, Associate Professor of Art at Stanford University, discussed what it would be like to take Darwin's ghost for a tour around the San Francisco Bay area.  Learn more about the artwork of Gail Wight.
Photo by L.A. Cicero / Stanford News Service.


How Apes and Monkeys May Help Us Understand the Economic Crisis

Lecture by Marc Hauser

Thursday, October 8, 6:00 PM

In this lecture, Marc Hauser, Director of the Cognitive Evolution Lab at Harvard, argues that many of the problems in our own economic decision-making can be traced back millions of years when our primate ancestors were small-brained quadrupeds lacking any concept of money or the stock market.

Gorillas Up Close

Special program for families at the Franklin Park Zoo

Saturday, October 10, 10:30-11:30 am

Explore the social behavior of the Franklin Park Zoo’s magnificent gorilla troupe. A family program for ages 6 and up. Cosponsored with Zoo New England.


Mothers and Others: The Origin of Emotionally Modern Humans

Lecture and booksigning/reception by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

Wednesday, November 18, 6:00 PM

Anthropologist and primate sociobiologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy discussed her newest book, Mothers and Others, in which she emphasizes the need to consider our Pleistocene ancestors' peculiar mode of child-rearing. Cosponsored with the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and the Harvard University Press. Image credit: Sophie Bassouls. 

Watch this lecture on WGBH Forum Network


Six Years on Mars

Lecture by Andrew Knoll

Thursday, December 10, 6:00 PM

Andrew Knoll, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard and a member of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover science team, reflected on six years of NASA Mars Rover exploration; what the evidence tells us about the history of water and its implication for life on the ancient surface of the Red Planet.


Natural History Museums and Society

Lecture by Cristián Samper

Tuesday, October 27, 6:00 PM

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, Dr. Cristián Samper, Director of the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution, examined the past, present and future of natural history museums in society. 

Watch this lecture on the Videos page. 


Marvelous Mammals

Family program with Hopi Hoekstra

Sunday, October 18, 2:00 pm

Hopi Hoekstra, Associate Professor of Biology and the Curator of Mammals at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, discussed how she and her research team at Harvard collect and study mice populations to explore variation in mammals. 


Natural History Museums in the Environmental Century

Lecture by Michael Novacek

Thursday, November 5, 6:00 PM

American Museum of Natural History Paleontologist and Provost Michael Novacek discussed how natural history museums like Harvard’s MCZ offer unique opportunities for scientific discovery, education, and inspiration, and provide a management plan that draws on the past, reveals the present, and maps our future.


The Size and Shape of Nature

Family program with L. Mahadevan

Sunday, December 13, 2:00 pm

Using size as a beacon, L. Mahadevan, Harvard Professor of Applied Mathematics and 2009 MacArthur Fellow, described how the intersecting worlds of mathematics, physics, and engineering allow us to understand life's variations.
Learn more about L. Mahadevan's research in an article and video featured on Harvard Magazine's website.


Dance, Dance, Evolution:
The Origins of Music and Dance in Man and Birds

Family program with Adena Schachner and Timothy Brady

Sunday, November 15, 2:00 pm

Adena Schachner and Timothy Brady, Ph.D. candidates at Harvard and MIT, examined how and why evolution happens, and presented recent studies that show some birds can actually dance to a beat. 


This Brick Ark: Celebrating the Museum of Comparative Zoology’s First 150 Years and the Beginning of the Next 150

Lecture by James Hanken

Thursday, October 15, 6:00 PM

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, the MCZ’s Director, Dr. James Hanken, explored the history of this institution, what it can tell us about the changing role of university-based natural history museums, and what museums must do to survive in the 21st century.

Watch this lecture on the Videos page.


An Evening of Field Exploration and Research with National Geographic 

Lecture by John Francis, Tim Laman, and Conrad Anker

Saturday, October 3, 8:00 PM

Wildlife explorers John Francis, Tim Laman, and Conrad Anker shared a slideshow and discussion about their fascinating adventures—from the island of Papua New Guinea to the steppes of Tibet.
Photo by Tim Laman.


Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Conversation with James D. Watson and Edward O. Wilson

Moderated by Robert Krulwich

Wednesday, September 9, 5:30 PM

James D. Watson, a Nobel Prize winner for his role in the discovery of the of the structure of DNA, and Edward O. Wilson, a pioneer in the study of biodiversity and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, reflected on their storied careers, including their time together at Harvard, and looked ahead to the key challenges for biological sciences in the 21st century. Moderated by Robert Krulwich, award-winning journalist and correspondent for National Public Radio.

Watch this event on the the Videos page. 


The Best Fossils Darwin Never Saw

Gallery talk by Ben Kotrc  

Thursday, August 20, 6:00 & 7:00 PM

Led by Harvard earth and planetary sciences graduate student Ben Kotrc, visitors explored the museum’s diverse range of fossil specimens, from the giant Ice Age mammals, which Darwin saw, to ancient microfossils discovered in recent decades. 


Life’s a Niche

Gallery talk by Luke Mahler  

Thursday, July 16, 6:00 & 7:00 PM

Led by Harvard evolutionary biology graduate student Luke Mahler, visitors explored the museum’s EVOLUTION and Language of Color exhibitions with a special focus on one of the most ecologically diverse vertebrates, the Caribbean Anolis lizards.
Photo of Anolis by Jonathan Losos. 


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Primate Sex*

(*But Were Afraid to Ask)

 Gallery talk by Zarin Machanda   

Thursday, June 18, 6:00 & 7:00 PM

As part of Summer Night at the Museums visitors explored the EVOLUTION exhibition and the Great Hall of Mammals with Harvard biological anthropology graduate student Zarin Machanda, and saw how evolutionary processes such as sexual selection have shaped primate social systems and sexual relationships. 


Under New England: The Story of New England’s Rocks and Fossils

Family program with Charles Ferguson Barker

Sunday, MAy 17, 2:00 pm

New England has a spectacular geologic history of colliding continents, erupting volcanoes, and roaming dinosaurs. Charles Ferguson Barker, geologist and author of the children’s book Under New England: The Story of New England's Rocks & Fossils, introduced young explorers to the rich geological landscape of the region.


The Love Potion Murders in the Museum of Man

Reading and booksigning with author Alfred Alcorn

Saturday, March 28, 4:00 pm

Author Alfred Alcorn will read from his new novel, The Love Potion Murders in the Museum of Man, which combines black comedy, parody, and murder to explore the human (and inhuman) condition. Love Potion is the follow-up to Alcorn’s critically acclaimed Norman de Ratour mystery, Murder in the Museum of Man. 


Nature Storytime

Children's book reading with Melissa Stewart

Saturday, March 28, 11:00 am & 2:00 pm

Melissa Stewart, award-winning author of over 100 children’s books, read from A Place for Birds, her new illustrated book about the amazing world of birds and how kids can help protect their natural habitats.


Plant Biodiversity from Our Backyard to the Big Picture

Lecture by Peter Raven 

Friday, MAy 1, 6:00 pm

World-renowned botanist, and director of the Missouri Botanical Garden Peter Raven visited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Center for Plant Conservation, a network of America’s leading botanical institutions dedicated solely to preventing the extinction of America’s imperiled native flora. Introduction by Dr. Peter Ashton, Director Emeritus of the Arnold Arboretum. Cosponsored with the Arnold Arboretum, New England Wild Flower Society, and Center for Plant Conservation. 

Photo by Kristi Foster, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden.

Watch this lecture on WGBH Forum Network


Finding Your Inner Fish  

Lecture by Neil Shubin

Thursday, April 16, 6:00 pm

University of Chicago paleontologist Neil Shubin made headlines with the recent discovery of the 375-million-year-old fossil remains of Tiktaalik roseae—dubbed the “missing link” between fish and land animals. Shubin discussed the evolutionary baggage that we carry in our genetic lineage that originated in earlier animals. 

The Tiktaalik roseae was discovered in 2004 by Shubin and his colleagues, Dr. Ted Daeschler (The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia) and Dr. Farish A. Jenkins Jr. (Harvard University). Shubin hold several titles at the University of Chicago including Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy.

Photo by Dan Dry.

Watch this lecture on the Videos page. 


Learning from Live Animals: How Frogs Feed and Snakes Slither

Family program with Julie Vallimont

Sunday, April 26, 2:00 pm

Museum educator Julie Vallimont presented an up close encounter with some of the museum's spectacular live animals to demonstrate how they use their bodies to suit their unique lifestyles.


New Directions in EcoPlanning Annual Lecture
Designing the Urban Ark: Biodiversity and the Future of Cities

Lecture by Kristina Hill

Wednesday, MArch 18, 6:00 pm

Kristina Hill, Associate Professor and Director of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, outlined a vision for biodiversity and urban planning based on human self-interest, development conditions, climate change, and lessons learned in other regions of the United States. 

The lecture series, New Directions in EcoPlanning, is presented by the Harvard Museum of Natural History and supported by a generous gift from Michael Dyett (AB ’68, MRP ’72) and Heidi Richardson. For more information see the press release

Watch this lecture on the Videos page. 


Nature and the Written Word

A Roundtable on Natural History Writing

Thursday, January 29, 6:30 pm

A roundtable discussion with four of New England’s most prominent natural history authors, which addressed the challenge of how to engage and inspire public concern for wildlife, nature, and conservation. Featuring Sy Montgomery, Katy Payne, John Elder, and moderator Dale Peterson. This event is cosponsored with PEN New England.

Watch this roundtable discussion on WGBH Forum Network


2009 Roger Tory Peterson Memorial Lecture

Lecture by Russell A. Mittermeier

Sunday, April 5, 3:00 pm

Russell A. Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, received the 2009 Roger Tory Peterson medal and deliver the memorial lecture, "Conserving the World’s Biodiversity: How the Climate Crisis Could Both Hurt and Help." 

Watch this lecture on the Videos page. 


Survival of the Fleetest, Smartest, or Fattest? Human Evolution 150 Years After Darwin 

Lecture by Daniel Lieberman

Thursday, MArch 5, 2009

Harvard Professor of Biological Anthropology Daniel Lieberman explains how many of the adaptations that enabled us to succeed as active hunter-gatherers, including the ability to store fat for lean time, can now impair our well-being and may even threaten our species' very survival. 

Watch this lecture on the Videos page. 


Evolution in the Post-Genomic Age   

Lecture by Pardis Sabeti

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Harvard's Pardis Sabeti, assistant professor in Harvard University’s Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, discussed how contemporary scientists are applying the principles of natural selection to mine the human genome and untangle the forces that have shaped our species. 

Watch this lecture on the Videos page. 


Darwin at 200: Rethinking the Revolution  

Lecture by Janet Browne

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In celebration of “Darwin Day” Harvard's Janet Browne, Aramont Professor of the History of Science, explored Charles Darwin’s cultural significance and what he has come to represent over time: the idea of scientific progress. 

Watch this lecture on the Videos page.


Sea Creatures in Glass and Glass in Sea Creatures

Lecture by Joanna Aizenberg

Thursday, January 22, 6:00 pm

Dr. Joanna Aizenberg, McKay Professor of Materials Science at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Radcliffe Professor at Harvard, discussed how her research looks to glass formation in organisms to create bio-inspired synthetic devicecs and technologies for use in everyday life. 


Ivory’s Ghosts: The White Gold of History and the Fate of Elephants  

Author talk and booksigning by John Frederick Walker

Saturday, JAnuary 17, 2:00 pm

Author John Frederick Walker discussed the fascinating story of ivory’s enormous impact on both human history and that of its most important source—the majestic African elephant.

Watch this lecture on WGBH Form Network


An Afternoon with Charles Darwin

Family program with Andrew Berry

Sunday, February 15, 2009

To celebrate the anniversary of his birth, Darwin (as resurrected by Dr. Andrew Berry) returned from the past to talk about his life and take visitors on a walk through the museum’s zoological galleries. Dr. Berry teaches evolution at Harvard, runs a history of science program in the United Kingdom on the development of Darwin's ideas, and even attended the same English high school as Darwin. 


One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin

Family program and booksigning with Kathryn Lasky and Matthew Trueman

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Children’s book author Kathryn Lasky and artist Matthew Trueman took visitors on an illustrated journey through Charles Darwin’s early years—from his childhood activity of collecting beetles in a local pond to his historic voyage around South America in search of wildlife and geology.

Image courtesy of Candlewick Press. 


A Man Among Bears

Family program with Ben Kilham

Sunday, january 11, 2:00 pm

A DVD screening of National Geographic Channel documentary A Man Among Bears and a discussion with New Hampshire naturalist, author, and wildlife rehabilitator Ben Kilham.