Join us for our annual Westbrook Lecture:
~ Natural History Collections: The Newest Biological Frontier ~
Featuring Kristofer Helgen, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Museum opens at 1:30pm; lecture begins at 3pm and will be followed by
light refreshments with the speaker in the museum.
Picture of the Wagner Free Institute of Science by John Woodin
What is it like to discover a new species? Most people probably imagine a team of intrepid scientists trekking through a wild landscape to find creatures that have never been seen before by human eyes. While that situation is familiar to Research Zoologist Kristofer Helgen, he also knows that another kind of expedition can be just as valuable: a trip to a natural history museum. By studying the specimens right under our noses in natural history collections, scientists are gaining new insight into biological diversity today and throughout history. At this Westbrook Lecture, one in an annual series of historic talks by world-renowned scientists, Kristofer Helgen will share how some of his most well-known new mammal discoveries were inspired by natural history collections—such as the Wagner's—and how today’s scientists are using collections to paint a fuller picture of the animal kingdom.
Kristofer Helgen has been Curator of the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History since 2008. His work on mammals is wide-ranging and encompasses systematics, biogeography, ecomorphology, and conservation. He has conducted research on almost every continent and more than 80 museums and he is known worldwide for documenting approximately 100 species of mammals previously unknown to science. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel and on television and radio programs around the world. Photo by Ulla Lohmann.
About the annual Westbrook Lecture: Dr. Richard B. Westbrook, Trustee of the Institute from 1884 until his death in 1899, established the Westbrook Free Lectureship as a means to encourage open discourse on scientific subjects, especially "disputed questions in science and the theories of Evolution." Since 1912 when the series began, Westbrook lecturers have included some of the most distinguished scientists and scholars of the past 100 years, among them John Dewey, George Gaylord Simpson, and Margaret Mead.