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All upcoming Lectures

All upcoming Lectures

Programs 1 to 10 of 95
Tuesday, July 23, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Since Jaws scared a nation of moviegoers out of the water nearly 50 years ago, great white sharks have attained a mythic status as the most frightening and mysterious monsters to still live among us. Journalist Susan Casey became obsessed with these awe-inspiring creatures and has joined scientists on their expeditions to study the species. Dive in as Casey discusses her time spent among the great whites as well as the latest in great white shark research.


Tuesday, July 23, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Theoretical physicist and philosopher Sean Carroll is known for his unique approach to sharing physics with a broad audience. Drawing on his new book Quanta and Fields, he takes on quantum field theory—how modern physics describes nature at its most profound level. He offers accessible, straightforward perspectives on topics from why matter is solid to the sizes of atoms to why the predictions of quantum field theory are so spectacularly successful.


Thursday, July 25, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

For centuries, the royal court in London was the political, social, and cultural headquarters of the nation. A formal gathering there was a glittering stage where a guest could increase their power, consolidate their family’s importance, and share gossip and tales of palace intrigues—all with the goal of capturing the eye of the sovereign. Historian Robert Bucholz reveals why anybody who was anybody—or who longed to be somebody—coveted an invitation to court.


Friday, July 26, 2024 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Tuscany may very well be the emotional epicenter of Italian wine. With gently rolling hills, rich soils, cool breezes and plentiful sunshine, it's no wonder that the wines of the region are in high demand. Sommelier Erik Segelbaum leads a virtual tasting trip covering both hearty classic appellations and compelling, fresh white wines and lighter versions of full-bodied varieties. The immersive program includes a curated personal tasting kit to enhance the experience.


Monday, July 29, 2024 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Tour guide and author Christopher Skutela leads you off the beaten path in Krakow, revealing sites where tourists don’t tend to go. Explore historic neighborhoods, one of the hidden health resorts in Poland, and a former socialist utopia district. Then get a breath of fresh air at Kosciuszko Mound and Bielany Hermitage and Woods.


Monday, July 29, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

In March 1945, the Rhine River was the last natural barrier left open to Germany’s heartland. As Allied troops advanced, the only bridge still spanning the river was the Ludendorff railroad bridge at Remagen. Military historian Mitch Yockelson examines how the 9th U.S. Armored Division took control of the strategically vital bridge only minutes before German forces had planned to destroy it and how this pivotal action ultimately shortened the war in Europe.


Tuesday, July 30, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Long before royal exploits were splashed across the tabloids, England’s ruling clan played out their dramas on the national stage during the mid-to-late 15th century. The houses of Lancaster and York brawled through a series of family battles known as the Wars of the Roses, marked by enough drama, betrayals, and intrigue to fill a television series. Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger looks at the conflict from the inside out, finding truth in the warning “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”


Tuesday, July 30, 2024 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
In-Person Collaborations

Blues music goes back over 100 years and remains a vital genre of music today—and women blues musicians have been there since the start. Learn about that rich history through conversation and performances as Krystal Klingenberg, curator of music at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, is joined by blues and soul vocal legend Bettye LaVette and a sparkling newcomer, singer/songwriter Adia Victoria, for a discussion of their work in the field and the legacy that they share. (Free program; registration required.)


Wednesday, July 31, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence and our third president, has been called the architect of American democracy. Yet his legacy has been questioned in large part because he owned over 600 slaves during his lifetime. Historian John Ragosta examines the question of what a white slave-owning aristocrat has to teach us about the nature of American leadership.


Thursday, August 1, 2024 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

From their intricate social structures to their remarkable hunting techniques, otters captivate observers with their cleverness, charisma, and resilience. Erin Whatley and Paul Bradenburger, animal keepers with Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, reveal fascinating details about the natural history of these furry, semi-aquatic mammals—and reveal secrets of otter care at the zoo.