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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Science & Nature Programs

Lecture/Seminar

Wild Wood: True Tales of Trees

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Join Liana Vitali, naturalist and educator at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Maryland (and self-proclaimed tree-hugger), for an immersive audio-visual journey into the fascinatingly complicated and connected life of trees—from their first tiny emergence through the topsoil as seedlings, to their lasting value to forest life as fallen logs.

Lecture/Seminar

The Geologic Past of the Mid-Atlantic Region

Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Who knew that beneath our feet is evidence of magma chambers, giant sharks, Himalayan-sized mountains, and the breakup of several supercontinents? Geologist Callan Bentley leads a fascinating exploration of the Mid-Atlantic region that explores an extraordinary history spanning more than a billion years of geologic time.

Lecture/Seminar

What We Don’t Know About Dinosaurs

Sunday, October 23, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

In just the past twenty years, we have learned more about dinosaurs than we did in the previous two centuries. Paleontologist David Hone discusses the extraordinary advances beginning to solve many of the mysteries surrounding these marvelous prehistoric creatures, considers the gaps in our knowledge that remain, and charts new directions for tomorrow’s generation of dinosaur scientists.

Lecture/Seminar

The ENIAC Programmers: The Women Behind the First Modern Computer

Monday, October 24, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

After the end of World War II, six pioneering women were assigned to program the new Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer—for which there were no instructional codes or programming languages to guide them. They succeeded, but their story was never told to the public. Author and documentary filmmaker Kathy Kleiman brings it—and these technological revolutionaries—out of the shadows.

Lecture/Seminar

The Exquisite Machine: The New Science of the Heart

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Sian Harding, a world leader in cardiac research, surveys the explosion of scientific developments that are now opening the mysteries of the heart. She also examines how cutting-edge technologies are enabling experiments and clinical trials that will lead to new solutions to curing the world’s leading cause of death: heart disease.

Lecture/Seminar

The Sounds of Life: Technology Unlocks Nature’s Hidden Realm

Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Technology often distracts us from nature, but what if it could reconnect us instead? The natural world teems with remarkable conversations, many beyond human hearing range. Karen Bakker of the University of British Columbia reveals how scientists are using groundbreaking digital technologies to uncover these astonishing sounds, revealing vibrant communication among our fellow creatures.

Tour

Autumn Hiking: Sugarloaf Mountain

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Discover beauty and fascinating history as you spend an autumn day hiking to the summit of Washington, D.C.’s local mountain guided by popular study leader and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley. She offers insights into Sugarloaf’s origins, plants and wildlife, geology, and seasonal changes, as well as remarkable preservation stories about this regional natural treasure.

Tour

Autumn Hiking: Sugarloaf Mountain

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Discover beauty and fascinating history as you spend an autumn day hiking to the summit of Washington, D.C.’s local mountain guided by popular study leader and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley. She offers insights into Sugarloaf’s origins, plants and wildlife, geology, and seasonal changes, as well as remarkable preservation stories about this regional natural treasure.

Tour

Autumn Hiking: Sugarloaf Mountain

Thursday, November 10, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Discover beauty and fascinating history as you spend an autumn day hiking to the summit of Washington, D.C.’s local mountain guided by popular study leader and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley. She offers insights into Sugarloaf’s origins, plants and wildlife, geology, and seasonal changes, as well as remarkable preservation stories about this regional natural treasure.

Tour

Caverns and Cabernets: A Fall Day in the Shenandoah Valley

Saturday, November 12, 2022 - 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley has a rich geological heritage, shaped over millions of years of natural history. Gregg Clemmer, an experienced caver and explorer, takes you deep into that ancient past at two of the state’s most notable caverns, and offers a chance to sample some of the products of the valley’s fertile soil on a visit to a regional winery.

Lecture/Seminar

Temple Grandin on Visual Thinking

Monday, November 14, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

If you have a keen sense of direction, a love of puzzles, and the ability to assemble furniture without crying, you’re likely a visual thinker. Temple Grandin—a visual thinker herself—offers insights into how a world increasingly geared to the verbal tends to sideline visual thinkers and how new approaches to education, employment, and collaboration can make the most of their singular gifts.

Lecture/Seminar

Bison: Portrait of an Icon

Monday, November 14, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Writer Audrey Hall and photographer Chase Reynolds Ewald have been following in the hoofprints of the American bison since their first childhood visits to Yellowstone National Park. They draw on their book, Bison: Portrait of an Icon, to tell the story of the species, highlighting its history, cultural significance, near decimation and remarkable comeback, and share some surprising tidbits about these all-American beasts.

Lecture/Seminar

It’s Possible To Be Sick as a Dog: Linking Human and Animal Health

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Drawing on the latest in medical and veterinary science, cardiologist and evolutionary biologist B. Natterson-Horowitz explores how understanding physical and mental illness in animals has the potential to make us physically and mentally healthier humans.

Lecture/Seminar

How To Find an Owl in Your Neighborhood

Sunday, November 20, 2022 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET

There’s likely a cunning top-of-the-food-chain predator living close by you: the Great Horned Owl. Join naturalist  Mark H.X. Glenshaw to learn how to find these amazing and beautiful animals and other owls in your own neighborhood.

Lecture/Seminar

The Year of the Puppy

Monday, November 28, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Noted dog researcher and author Alexandra Horowitz spent a year scrutinizing the daily existence of her new puppy Quiddity and poring over the science of early dog development—an experience recounted in her newest book, The Year of the Puppy. Horowitz draws on it in a conversation with science journalist Ed Yong in which she dives into the most important and challenging phases for dog owners: the first year with a puppy.

Lecture/Seminar

Maria Sibylla Merian: A Biologist to the Bone

Thursday, December 1, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

The aesthetic appeal of the images created by Maria Sibylla Merian (German, 1647–1717) has led history to label her as an artist who painted and etched natural history subjects. Kay Etheridge, a professor emeritus of biology at Gettysburg College, draws on Merian’s own words and art to reveal she was as passionate a naturalist (biologist in modern terms) as Charles Darwin or Carl Linnaeus.

Lecture/Seminar

Along the C&O Canal

Friday, December 2, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal covers over 20,000 acres along the Potomac and is one of the nation’s most diverse national parks in terms of both natural species and historical significance. Aidan Barnes of the C&O Canal Trust surveys its colorful history, near demise and rescue, and its emergence as a true national treasure.

Lecture/Seminar

Birding in a Winter Wonderland

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Not all birds fly south for the winter: Many species find their way to homes in temperate North America. Naturalist Matt Felperin shares valuable tips on how to the make the most of winter birding in the mid-Atlantic region and why it’s one of the most rewarding and magical times for spotting seasonal visitors from ducks and geese to songbirds and raptors.

Tour

Holidays at Winterthur and Longwood Gardens: Featuring Jacqueline Kennedy and H. F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House

Sunday, December 11, 2022 - 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET

Kick off your holidays in grand style with a day spent visiting two special destinations. Begin at Winterthur to view the opulent holiday décor and take in the exhibition Jacqueline Kennedy and H. F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House. An evening visit to nearby Longwood Gardens offers time on your own to relax, wander the grounds, and take in the spectacular seasonal decorations.

Lecture/Seminar

How Weather Has Shaped Human History

Thursday, December 15, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Dramatic weather might seem to be a new phenomenon, but weather and climate change have been shaping human history for thousands of years. Historian Caroline Winterer examines a series of weather-driven turning points that were strong enough to force migration, end wars, and create famines—and how the aftermath of past climate change might affect our future.