February 12th is International Darwin Day, a celebration of “intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin.” Spark a love of science in your community with one of these PRHSB speakers, who bring their approachable keynotes on biology, environmentalism, and technology to schools, libraries, and universities across the world.
With passion and enthusiasm for science, Neil Shubin—evolutionary biologist and host of the PBS series Your Inner Fish—speaks to student and community audiences about his research and discoveries on evolution. Enlightening and accessible, his lectures make audiences look at themselves and the world in an illuminating new light.
Neil Shubin, professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago, is widely celebrated for discovering the fossil fish Tiktaalik roseae, a fossil fish also known as the “fishapod” and dubbed the missing link between fish and land animals. Shubin’s research focuses on the evolution of limbs, and he uses his diverse fossil findings to determine how anatomical transformations have occurred throughout the ages.
Carl Zimmer is, in the words of The New York Times Book Review, “as fine a science essayist as we have.” He is an expert on topics ranging from evolution to viruses to genome sequencing to brain-mapping and a regular contributor to The New York Times, National Geographic, and National Public Radio.
Zimmer enthralls audiences with insightful, engrossing talks on topics ranging from the cutting edge of medicine, to the history of the scientific revolution, to the wonderful creepiness of parasites. In addition to his public speaking, Zimmer is a frequent guest on NPR’s Radiolab and other radio programs and podcasts. His books include Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, Soul Made Flesh (named one of the top 100 books of the year by The New York Times Book Review), At the Water’s Edge, and Parasite Rex.
As a leading seismologist for the USGS for thirty years, Dr. Lucy Jones has been at the forefront of scientific research for decades, and her outstanding initiatives to create earthquake warnings and disaster scenarios have become integral to keeping Californians safe.
Hailed as “the Beyoncé of earthquakes, the Meryl Streep of government service, a woman breaking barriers in a man’s world,” Dr. Jones delivers passionate lectures about our civilization’s history of natural disasters, the importance of women in science, how scientists can effectively communicate their findings to policymakers, and how we can make our societies more resilient to future disasters. Her upcoming book, The Big Ones, is a riveting history of natural disasters and their impact on our culture, which also offers new ways of thinking about the ones to come.
Mike Massimino’s testament to the power of determination inspires audiences to never give up when pursuing a goal. Persistence, teamwork and innovation led to his unlikely journey from a working class family to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. A great storyteller, Massimino candidly shares the ups and downs of his extraordinary journey, as well as a few secrets about the universe, with his signature warmth and wit. A de facto spokesman for NASA, Massimino has costarred in the film Hubble IMAX 3D, hosted specials on PBS, the Discovery Channel, and the National Geographic Channel, and played himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. He cemented his role in both the history of social media and space exploration when he became the first person to tweet from space.
In talks that celebrate the necessity and beauty of science as much as they do the wonders of the universe, Massimino tells audiences how his own fascination with the cosmos along with teamwork, passion, and persistence turned a childhood dream into a lifelong journey. His smart, funny, and moving stories serve as impassioned argument against giving up the dream of space travel, and showcase the brave, innovative men and women who make it possible.
Critically acclaimed writer and artist Lauren Redniss is one of the most innovative literary talents of our time. The author of three acclaimed books, including National Book Award finalist Radioactive, Redniss’s marriage of journalism, history, science, and visual arts has “expanded the realm of non-fiction.”
Redniss’s visually captivating talks bring science, history, and contemporary issues alive with a mixture of unexpected insights and eye-popping artwork.
Renowned New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade received the 2007 Science in Society Journalism Award for his book Before the Dawn, a study of the origins of humanity. An expert on religion and evolution, Wade draws on new evidence from the mapping of the genome to investigate the genetic basis of race, the subject of his latest A Troublesome Inheritance.
Wade is the author of several books, including The Ultimate Experiment, The Nobel Duel, Betrayers of the Truth (written with William J. Broad), A World Beyond Healing, Lifescript, Before the Dawn, and The Faith Instinct. He speaks on human evolution, from 50,000 years ago until the present day, and the evolution of religion.
Bend Not Break author Ping Fu knows what it is like to be a pioneering software programmer, an entrepreneur, a CEO, and a true American success story. Born in Maoist China, Fu fled a life of poverty to eventually co-found Geomagic, a revolutionary 3D software company. She draws upon her own remarkable journey to highlight the importance of resilience in life and in the cutthroat world of start-ups.
Fu’s story is an account of her journey from imprisonment to freedom, and from the dogmatic anticapitalism of Mao’s China to the high-stakes, take-no-prisoners world of technology start-ups in the United States. Her courage in the face of cruelty is unmatched and provides a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.
David Allen Sibley is the preeminent brand in American birding, and everywhere he goes, hundreds of fellow birders come out to meet him for his inventive presentations and lectures. The Sibley Guide to Birds, published in 2000, was the realization of a lifelong dream for David Allen Sibley, who began painting birds when he was seven years old and has continued painting them for over three decades. The Sibley Guide to Birds contains over 6,600 original illustrations by Sibley, now recognized as America’s leading ornithologist/illustrator.
In the same way that poetry conveys rich meaning in just a few words, the illustrations in a field guide need to give maximum information in minimum space. Tracing his own artistic development through sketches and paintings, Sibley discusses the unique requirements and challenges of illustrating for a field guide. He talks about how we perceive the world around us, and how our brains both help and hinder our efforts at bird identification.
Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz is the co-author of the bestselling book Zoobiquity, which presents a revelatory understanding of what animals can teach us about the human body and mind while redefining the boundaries of medicine. A personal and provocative speaker, Natterson-Horowitz’s lectures are filled with captivating case studies.
Barbara Natterson-Horowitz looks at the remarkable correspondences between the way human beings and animals live, die, get sick, and heal in their natural settings. After being called in to consult on a case of heart failure in a monkey at the Los Angeles Zoo, Natterson-Horowitz found herself launched on a journey of discovery that reshaped her entire approach to medicine. She speaks about her concept of “Zoobiquity” to medical groups, educators, and students around the globe.