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Science & Nature Programs
The Beefeater and the Birds: Meet the Tower of London’s Ravenmaster

As Halloween draws near, spend an evening with Christopher Skaife, the ravenmaster at one of the world's eeriest monuments. He’s responsible for the care of the Tower of London’s remarkable ravens, and he has some fascinating stories to share about one of the world’s most unusual jobs.

Date
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Astronomer Royal Looks to the Future

British cosmologist, astrophysicist, and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees believes that, too often, our approach to what lies ahead is constricted by short-term thinking, polarizing debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism. Drawing from his new book On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, Rees discusses how we can use science to solve critical problems while avoiding its dystopian risk.

Date
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary: A Fall Panorama

Join an overnight tour to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the 2,600-acre sanctuary that is the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. Get a chance to see eagles, falcons, hawks, and osprey soaring high over a mountaintop preserve that glows with fall foliage.

Date
Depart: Friday, October 26, 2018 - 7:30 a.m.
Return: Saturday, October 27, 2018 - 6:00 p.m.
An Immersion in Nature: Japanese “Forest Bathing”—Urban Style

Learn the benefits of quiet time spent in touch with nature as Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a certified nature and forest-therapy guide and author of The Joy of Forest Bathing, leads a 2-hour walk in the Smithsonian’s beautiful Enid A. Haupt Garden.

Date
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Smithsonian Sleepover at the Natural History Museum Halloween Special

Halloween Special for Families: (Ages 8 to 12) Go on an interactive exploration of the Natural History Museum and participate in hands-on crafts projects and games. Then roll out your sleeping bag and dream away in the darkened halls of one of the world’s most famous museums! For this sleepover only, celebrate Halloween by wearing a costume.

Date
November 2 - 3, 2018, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Nature, History, and Art in Fairfax County

Join Rachel Cooper and Renee Sklarew, authors of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C., as they lead a fall excursion to the Lorton, Virginia, area to explore a trio of distinctive sites in Fairfax County: Mason Neck State Park, American statesman George Mason’s mansion Gunston Hall, and Lorton Workhouse Art Center.

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Scott Kelly: Infinite Wonder

Over the course of four missions, astronaut Scott Kelly has seen things that few humans have—and he has documented the startling vastness of space in photographs. Drawing on his new book Infinite Wonder, Kelly discusses the challenges of long-term flight, and reveals how seeing our planet from 250 miles above gave him a new appreciation of its beauty and its fragility. Ticket includes signed paperback copy of Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery.

Date
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - 7:00 p.m.
Underground Virginia: Caves of the Shenandoah

Find out why Virginia’s caves never fail to dazzle visitors during a visit to realms of wonder eons in the making in the scenic Shenandoah Valley. With Gregg Clemmer as your guide, explore two of the region’s great caverns—Shenandoah Caverns and Luray Caverns—from their stone columns and draperies to jagged helectites and dog-toothed spars. 

Date
Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
An Excursion on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

Led by rail historian Joe Nevin, climb through the Allegheny Mountains on a historic restored diesel locomotive as you enjoy a 30-mile round-trip excursion between Cumberland and Frostburg on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Date
Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 8:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Unlocking the Mystery of the Ribosome: A Molecular Key to Genetics

Structural biologist Venki Ramakrishnan examines the role of the once-elusive molecule ribosome in human genetics, and how he and his colleagues became the first to map its structure—an achievement recognized with a 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Date
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
An Autumn Nature Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island

Enjoy the beauty of an autumn morning on the 90-acre wooded oasis and national memorial in the middle of the tidal Potomac. Author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a scenic walk around Roosevelt Island, focusing on its woodlands, wildlife, and history.

Date
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Eye on Asteroids

Despite ongoing research, we still know little about asteroids—how they formed, what they're like, and to accurately predict when one of them might strike Earth with enough force to create widespread damage. Join Kelly Beatty, a veteran space journalist, to explore the science and science fiction of these rocky bodies.

Date
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

In a four-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This program features Yasmine Belkaid, Chief, Mucosal Immunology Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Date
Tuesday, November 20,2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Wired That Way: The Origins of Human Nature

What makes you the way you are? And what makes each of us different from everyone else? Kevin J. Mitchell, a leading neuroscientist and popular science blogger, traces human diversity and individual differences to their deepest level: in the wiring of our brains.

Date
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe

Bewildered by all those scientific myths, fallacies, and conspiracy theories masquerading as actual news? Steven Novella, producer and host of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and a posse of his fellow podcasters are ready to show you how the powers of logic, science, and skepticism can be your best weapons against superstition and pseudoscience.

Date
Friday, November 30, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Advances in Military Medicine: From Mercy Street to the 21st Century

Many of the scientific, medical, and technological innovations of the past two centuries have had their roots in military medicine. Visits to the National Museum of Health and Medicine and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine offer insights into that history, as well as military medicine’s links to modern healthcare.

Date
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 9:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
An Imperfect Heartbeat: Has the Artificial Heart Fulfilled Its Promise?

In the realm of medical miracles, the artificial heart was one of the last century’s most notable—and controversial. Author Shelley McKellar discusses the successes and the shortcomings of this medical breakthrough.

Date
Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Auctioning the Past: A Fossil Smuggler Pays the Price

Paige Williams, a staff writer at the New Yorker, delves into the sometimes-perilous world of the illicit international fossil trade as she tells the story of an American dealer’s dangerous obsession with a rare dinosaur skeleton.

Date
Monday, December 17, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

In a four-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This program features David Leopold, Chief, Section on Cognitive Neurophysiology and Imaging, National Institute of Mental Health.

Date
Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
The Pulse on Modern Medicine: Insights from NIH Experts

In a four-part series, listen to National Institutes of Health directors and scientific and medical experts discuss what is currently “hot” in biomedical research—and what it all means for our health and medical treatment today and in the future. This program features John Tisdale, Chief, Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Date
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.