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Anyone who has listened to jazz — a uniquely American musical form that is fundamentally interpretive, improvisational and creative — will describe the way it seems to stimulate the mind. And in recent years, new scientific research has shown that improvisation really does activate the parts of the brain that enhance self-expression and lower inhibitions.
On Saturday, February 19, from 12:30 to 5 pm, the American Museum of Natural History will honor jazz’s trailblazing artists and musicians and highlight the ways jazz can stimulate and enhance the brain with a special Global Weekends event, Saluting Our Jazz Elders, which will feature performances by celebrated jazz vocalist Melba Joyce, New Amsterdam Music Association, Joey Morant, and McCollough Sons of Thunder, as well as conversations throughout the day with Robert O’Meally, co-founder of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University about the connections between jazz, the brain, and education.
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Stephen C. Quinn, senior project manager in the Museum’s Department of Exhibition, recently traveled to the eastern Congo basin to visit the exact site depicted in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals’ mountain gorilla diorama which is based on paintings, photographs, and specimens collected in the field by explorer and taxidermist Carl Akeley and his team in 1921 and 1926.
Like the artists on Akeley’s 1926 expedition, Quinn used field sketches and paintings to document the area’s flora and fauna, recording the changes that have taken place and reinforcing the important role artists play in habitat conservation and environmental education. In this eight-minute highlight video from a recent talk at the Museum, Quinn shares finished works, including a panoramic plein air painting.
Watch the video, which includes footage from the field, here:
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Did you know that dinosaur bones contain growth rings, like the rings in tree trunks, which reveal yearly periods of rapid and slow growth? Or that sauropods, the largest known dinosaurs, probably survived on a diet of plants? This is your chance to learn about dinosaurs — and to tweet all about it!
Join us on Thursday, March 3, at 6 pm for the Museum’s next tweetup, which will focus on some of the most fascinating animals ever to walk the Earth. Learn about dinosaurs, meet paleontologists, go behind the scenes to see how fossils are stored, and get a sneak preview of The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, a new exhibition that opens April 16. Enjoy refreshments in the Museum’s famous fossil halls and meet other @AMNH followers and staff.
Visit the registration page to sign up today. The Museum will notify all selected participants on February 23. The Museum’s January tweetup focused on Brain: The Inside Story. To learn more, check out these photos or read this post.
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For an extraordinary group of New York City students, going to class means passing a Neanderthal skeleton, a 94-foot-long model of a blue whale, and a family of brown bears — and that’s just on the first floor.
These are the 13 students now enrolled in the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History, which in 2006 became the only American museum—and the first museum in the Western Hemisphere—with the authority to grant the Ph.D. degree. In 2008, the Museum made history by enrolling its first class. Just last year, the New York State Board of Regents granted full institutional accreditation to the Richard Gilder Graduate School, a landmark decision that recognized the strength of the new program and the Museum’s long track record of training graduate students in partnership with leading institutions that include Columbia University, New York University, Cornell University, City University of New York, and Stony Brook University.
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Hundreds of millions of people globally — 174 million in the United States alone — regularly inhabit virtual worlds because they provide the rewards, challenges, and victories that are often lacking in everyday life.
In this podcast from a recent SciCafe, Jane McGonigal, who studies games that require and harness the power of collective intelligence, talked about how games can change and influence life in the real world.
The next SciCafe, “Know Your Roots,” takes place on March 2, 2011. Learn more about this popular after-hours series featuring cocktails and conversation about cutting-edge science topics.
The talk was recorded at the Museum on February 2, 2011.