What inspires scientists and innovators? On July 19, First Comes the Dream, a celebration of New York City’s emergence as a premier technology center, brought luminaries from science, technology, and media to the Museum to find out.
Co-hosted by the Museum with leading tech blog Gizmodo and social networking app Foursquare, the evening began in the Hayden Planetarium with remarks from Museum President Ellen Futter, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and New York City Deputy Mayor Robert Steel before launching the awe-struck audience on a tour of the universe with the Museum’s Director of Astrovisualization Carter Emmart.
Next, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Museum’s Hayden Planetarium, sat down for an interview with iO9’s Annalee Newitz in the Cullman Hall of the Universe. In the video below, find out what sparked Dr. Tyson’s interest in astronomy and what he thinks the future of space exploration might hold.
Have a question for a paleontologist? On July 18, head over to leading technology blog Gizmodo at 1:30 pm for a chance to ask the Museum’s Provost of Science Michael Novacek what led him to become interested in his field, and anything else you wanted to know about paleontology but were afraid to ask.
Nearly 20 years ago, Dr. Novacek was one of the discoverers of the Gobi Desert’s Ukhaa Tolgod, the richest Cretaceous fossil vertebrate site in the world. He has also led paleontological expeditions to Baja California, Mexico; the Andes Mountains of Chile; and the Yemen Arab Republic in search of fossil mammals and dinosaurs.
Earlier this month, blogs Gizmodo and iO9 launched What Was It, is a series of short interviews that asks the luminaries of science and technology what inspired them. Read interviews with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, and astronaut Mae Jemison, then join the conversation with Dr. Novacek on July 18 at Gizmodo.com.
Last year, William Harcourt-Smith, an assistant professor at Lehman College and a research associate in the Museum’s Division of Paleontology, blogged for the Museum about his research on the Kenyan island of Rusinga. Harcourt-Smith co-directs a paleontological field project on the island, which is best known as the site of the discovery of the first fossils of Proconsul, an early ape. Below is an excerpt of a longer story that Harcourt-Smith wrote for the Summer 2012 issue of Rotunda, the Member magazine.
On July 28, the Museum’s new exhibition Spiders Alive! will offer visitors access to the hidden worlds of arachnids, from red-kneed tarantulas and burrowing trapdoor spiders to the feared black widow and gargantuan goliath bird eater.
The Museum has a long tradition of live-animal exhibitions, from Frogs: A Chorus of Colors to The Butterfly Conservatory. When selecting live species for shows, curators and exhibition staff must consider lighting, placement, temperature, and in some cases, an animal’s age or sleeping habits. “Animals have personalities and preferences,” says Museum Curator Darrel Frost, who oversaw the 2010 Lizards and Snakes exhibition. “There are some fascinating animals that can’t be shown because they don’t do well with people or the exhibition environment. To put them on display, you’d have to put them in an uncomfortable situation.”