Westbrook Free Lectureship
Dr. Richard B. Westbrook, Trustee of the Institute from 1884 until his death in 1899, established the Westbrook Free Lectureship as a means to encourage open discourse on scientific subjects, especially "disputed questions in science and the theories of Evolution." Since 1912 when the series began, Westbrook lecturers have included some of the most distinguished scientists and scholars of the past 100 years, among them John Dewey, George Gaylord Simpson, and Margaret Mead.
~2016 Westbrook Free Lectureship~
Natural History Collections: The Newest Biological Frontier
Dr. Kristofer Helgen, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Museum open 1:30 to 5:30 PM
Lecture begins at 3:00 PM,
followed by light refreshments with the speaker in the museum.
Please register here for this free event.
Wagner Museum Case 71, photo by John Woodin
What is it like to discover a new species? Most people probably imagine a team of intrepid scientists trekking through a wild landscape to find creatures that have never been seen before by human eyes. While that situation is familiar to Research Zoologist Kristofer Helgen, he also knows that another kind of expedition can be just as valuable: a trip to a natural history museum. By studying the specimens right under our noses in natural history collections, scientists are gaining new insight into biological diversity today and throughout history. At this Westbrook Lecture, one in an annual series of historic talks by world-renowned scientists, Kristofer Helgen will share how some of his most well-known new mammal discoveries were inspired by natural history collections, and how today’s scientists are using collections such as the Wagner’s to paint a fuller picture of the animal kingdom.
Photo by Ulla Lohmann
|Kristofer Helgen has been Curator of the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History since 2008. His work on mammals is wide-ranging and encompasses systematics, biogeography, ecomorphology, and conservation. He has conducted research on almost every continent and more than 80 museums and he is known worldwide for documenting approximately 100 species of mammals previously unknown to science. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel and on television and radio programs around the world.
Past Westbrook Lectures (Partial List)
2013 - "Sustainable Seas: Vision and Reality"
Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue
2012 - "The Sky is Falling: White-Nose Syndrome in Bats"
Dr. Hazel Barton, University of Akron
2011 - "Adventures Among Ants"
Mark W. Moffett, Smithsonian Institution
2010 - "I Am One of You: The Secret Language of Bacteria"
Dr. Bonnie Bassler, Princeton University
2009 - "BSI -- The Case of the Disappearing Bees"
Dr. May R. Berenbaum, University of Illinois
2008 - "The Evolution of Human Skin Color"
Dr. Nina G. Jablonski, Pennsylvania State University
2007 - "A New 'Design' for Darwin: What Today's Science Says
About Biology's Most Controversial Theory"
Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, Brown University
1953 - "Cultural Background for Human Invention"
Dr. Margaret Mead, American Museum of Natural History
1950 - "Evolution and the History of Life"
Dr. George Gaylord Simpson, American Museum of Natural History
1949 - "Earth's Resources and Man's Needs"
Dr. Kirtley F. Mather, Harvard University
1947 - "The Glacial Ages"
Dr. Richard Foster Flint, Yale University
1940 - "Atomic Nuclei and Atomic Transmutations"
Dr. Kenneth T. Bainbridge, Harvard University
1932 - "Common Sense, Science and Philosophy"
Dr. John Dewey, Columbia University
1931 - "The Problems of the Origin and Antiquity of the American Aborigines
in Light of Recent Explorations"
Dr. Aleš Hrdlicka, United States National Museum (Smithsonian)
1928 - "The Science of Musical Sounds"
Dr. Dayton C. Miller, Case School of Applied Science
1923 - "The Philosophy of Sanitation"
George C. Whipple, Harvard University
1917 - "Heredity and Evolution in the Simplest Organisms"
Dr. H.S. Jennings, Johns Hopkins University
1914 - "The Theory of Evolution"
Dr. William Berryman Scott, Princeton University
1913 - "Conservation of Natural Resources"
Gifford Pinchot, National Conservation Association
Marshall O. Leighton, U.S. Geological Survey
Overton W. Price, National Conservation Association
Joseph A. Holmes, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines
1912 - "Ancient Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria"
Dr. Morris Jastrow, University of Pennsylvania