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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Science & Nature Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Volcanic activity occurs in almost every corner of the solar system, even in the most unexpected of locations. Geologist and cosmochemist Natalie Starkey guides a fascinating exploration of the tallest, coldest, hottest, and most unusual volcanoes and their origins.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 1, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Springtime in Washington is legendary, but what about that other fabulous season, fall? Join author and tree expert Melanie Choukas-Bradley on a virtual tour through autumn in the capital and see why its beauty should be as celebrated as spring’s cherry blossoms.

Course
Friday, October 8, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Environmental historian Hayden Mathews brings the heritage of one of the most storied rivers in North American to life in a three-part series that focuses on how the Potomac has shaped the lives of the those who settled along its banks from their arrival after the last Ice Age to the present day and how those lives have had an impact on the river.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The Patagonia region of South America has long attracted naturalists and explorers to unravel the mysteries of its dramatic landscape. Join geologist Kirt Kempter on a virtual tour of the region including highlights such as national parks, glaciers, and several picturesque volcanoes of the southern Andes.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. ET

From day one of the Covid pandemic, Anthony Fauci has been front and center in the fight to destroy the virus. After a brief respite, the virus, in a mutated form, has created a new crisis. Join the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as he helps us understand—from a scientific viewpoint—where we have been and what we need to know going forward.

Course
Thursday, October 14, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Join Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University, for in-depth looks at four UNESCO World Heritage sites that have been profoundly affected by nearby volcanoes, from Pompeii to Virunga National Park. Each lavishly illustrated program goes far beyond the typical tourist experience, incorporating insights drawn from current scholarship and research. This session focuses on Virunga National Park.

Tour
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Spend a fall morning exploring the verdant wooded trails of Rock Creek Park with naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley. She surveys the botanically diverse native trees of Rock Creek Park’s floodplain forest and upland woods and covers the history of D.C.’s woodland gem, the oldest urban national park in the country.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

During the Renaissance, artists began to portray plants and animals with increased fidelity to nature, and natural philosophers began to replace myths with scientific explanations of the natural world. Kay Etheridge, a biology professor at Gettysburg College, traces how revolutionary changes in the ways animals and plants were visually portrayed led to a transformation in our understanding of the world around us.

Tour
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Spend a fall morning exploring the verdant wooded trails of Rock Creek Park with naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley. She surveys the botanically diverse native trees of Rock Creek Park’s floodplain forest and upland woods and covers the history of D.C.’s woodland gem, the oldest urban national park in the country.

Tour
Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Spend a fall morning exploring the verdant wooded trails of Rock Creek Park with naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley. She surveys the botanically diverse native trees of Rock Creek Park’s floodplain forest and upland woods and covers the history of D.C.’s woodland gem, the oldest urban national park in the country.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

We live surrounded by drowned worlds according to geologist Patrick Nunn. Join him live from Australia as he recounts the histories of some of these shadow lands and what their understanding implies, drawing on research informed by science as well as human memories of submerged lands retained in oral traditions and eyewitness observations that became encoded in myth.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Hollywood can imagine impressive and convincing alien creatures, but is there any science behind our understanding of what extraterrestrial life might be like?  Although we don’t know whether they’ll be green, zoologist Arik Kershenbaum shares his insights into how familiar they might be, using lessons from the behaviors that we see in animals on our own planet.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Whether it be fish nurseries, migratory bird pit stops, or natural water filterers, wetlands provide near limitless value to humans and wildlife around the world. Naturalist Liana Vitali of Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, offers an audio-visual immersion into the marshes, ponds, swamps, and peat bogs of North America to discover just how important these ecosystems are to life on Earth.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

James Watson and Francis Crick’s 1953 discovery of the double helix structure of DNA is the foundation of virtually every advance in our modern understanding of genetics and molecular biology. But the discovery of DNA’s structure is the story of five towering minds: Watson, Crick, Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, and Linus Pauling. Howard Markel, professor of the history of medicine, provides a fascinating look at the discovery of DNA’s double helix.

Tour
Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Enjoy a fall morning walk on a natural oasis in the Potomac with Melanie Choukas-Bradley, the author of the new book Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island. Walk along the nearly 2-mile path where willows, bald cypresses, and cattails frame views of Washington, D.C. The morning also includes moments of guided forest bathing to quietly soak up the beauty of this wild island.

Tour
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Enjoy a fall morning walk on a natural oasis in the Potomac with Melanie Choukas-Bradley, the author of the new book Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island. Walk along the nearly 2-mile path where willows, bald cypresses, and cattails frame views of Washington, D.C. The morning also includes moments of guided forest bathing to quietly soak up the beauty of this wild island.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The world's habitats are often organized into various categories that are mainly grounded in botany. But for an amateur naturalist, a more intuitive tool for identifying habitat classifications has been lacking—until now. Several professional nature guides discuss a new guide they’ve written that explains the entire globe's habitats from a much simpler perspective.

Tour
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET

Enjoy a fall morning walk on a natural oasis in the Potomac with Melanie Choukas-Bradley, the author of the new book Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island. Walk along the nearly 2-mile path where willows, bald cypresses, and cattails frame views of Washington, D.C. The morning also includes moments of guided forest bathing to quietly soak up the beauty of this wild island.

Tour
Saturday, November 13, 2021 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. ET

Washington D.C.'s bedrock tells a deep time tale of oceanic sedimentation, intense mountain-building, violent shearing deep in the Earth, uplift, erosion, deposition of river gravels, and recent faulting with surprising implications. Join geologist Callan Bentley at the National Zoo and adjacent neighborhoods for a walking tour of key outcrops that illustrate chapters in this history before history.

Tour
Saturday, November 13, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

Washington D.C.'s bedrock tells a deep time tale of oceanic sedimentation, intense mountain-building, violent shearing deep in the Earth, uplift, erosion, deposition of river gravels, and recent faulting with surprising implications. Join geologist Callan Bentley at the National Zoo and adjacent neighborhoods for a walking tour of key outcrops that illustrate chapters in this history before history.

Tour
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Washington D.C.'s bedrock tells a deep time tale of oceanic sedimentation, intense mountain-building, violent shearing deep in the Earth, uplift, erosion, deposition of river gravels, and recent faulting with surprising implications. Join geologist Callan Bentley at the National Zoo and adjacent neighborhoods for a walking tour of key outcrops that illustrate chapters in this history before history.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

For thousands of years people have wondered if there are planets like Earth, if they’re common, and if any have signs of life. Sara Seager, a professor of physics and planetary science at MIT who is one of the leading experts on the search for Earth-like planets, shares the latest advances in this revolutionary field. Afterward, Peter Plavchan, a professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, brings the skies into your living room with remote control of the GMU Observatory.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, November 22, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

The geologic story of the rugged San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado reveals an explosive volcanic origin, including 18 supervolcano eruptions that peaked between 26 and 28 million years ago. Join volcanologist Kirt Kempter on a virtual tour of the region to discover how these massive eruptions forever transformed the landscape in the blink of an eye.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Orchid expert Barbara Schmidt leads a tour of several of the most exotic and beautiful collections in the United States. In virtual visits from California to Florida to Pennsylvania, a specialist from each botanical garden shares what makes their collection unique and highlights some of its rarest orchids.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET

Myths surrounding so-called “human races”—often used as evidence of the innate superiority or inferiority of individuals, groups, or nations—can be traced from ancient Greeks to Darwin to Nazi Germany to today. Evolutionary biologist Rui Diogo examines how scientific research and scholarship have played crucial roles in buttressing prejudice—and how false racially based beliefs still continue to color political discourse and social media.

Course
Monday, December 6, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In a 3-session evening series, historian Justin M. Jacobs presents in-depth overviews of three particularly intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites. This session focuses on the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, December 6, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Explore a spectacular land of fire and ice in a virtual field trip led by volcanologist Kirt Kempter, who spotlights the key features that make Iceland a bucket-list destination for all geologists.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Hear from representatives of the National Audubon Society and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo about new and upcoming projects that offer insights into the world of trees and the birds that inhabit them. Get an overview of the latest Audubon field guides to North American birds and trees, preview the transformation of the zoo’s Bird House, and learn how you can help birds by creating and encouraging bird-friendly spaces in your own community.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, December 12, 2021 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET

The landscape of Florida is unlike any other in the United States. Deciduous forests give way to subtropical wetlands, savannahs, and emerald palm-lined beaches. Join interpretive naturalist and popular tour leader Keith Tomlinson on a journey around the best of the peninsula that highlights some of the best places to hike, swim, and camp.

Course
Monday, December 13, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

In a 3-session evening series, historian Justin M. Jacobs presents in-depth overviews of three particularly intriguing UNESCO World Heritage sites. This session focuses on the Redwood National and State Parks.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, December 17, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

As a young man, Leonardo da Vinci wrote about finding the skeleton of a great “fish” while roaming in the hills of Tuscany. What followed was decades of interest in fossils and informed speculation about the planet’s history. Biologist Kay Etheridge examines how this fascination with fossils is reflected in his artworks.