Blogging from west Kenya, William Harcourt-Smith, a research associate in the Division of Paleontology, is directing a 20-million-year-old paleontological site on two islands in Lake Victoria. One of these islands, Rusinga, is best known as the site of the discovery of the first fossils of Proconsul, an early ape. Harcourt-Smith’s multidisciplinary team includes physical anthropologists and geologists, and in addition to collecting fossils, researchers are trying to learn more about the evolutionary events and environmental conditions that may have influenced the emergence of Proconsul and other early ape lineages.
The United States leads the world in frequency of tornadoes, with over 1,000 twisters expected to hit each year, according to the NationalClimatic Data Center. Nowhere are they more likely to occur than in Florida and a large area of the south-central U.S. known as Tornado Alley—the eponymous subject of the heart-pounding new IMAX film now showing on the big screen at the Museum’s Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater.
Join Jackie Faherty, a research scientist in the Museum’s Department of Astrophysics, for a special preview in the Hayden Planetarium on Tuesday, July 12. The program will include a visual explanation of Manhattenhenge using the state-of-the-art Zeiss Mark IX star projector and the Museum’s Digital Universe atlas, a four-dimensional atlas of the cosmos.
Before sunset on July 12 and 13, position yourself looking west on such clear cross streets as 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th, among others, to watch for striking photographic opportunities as the Sun drops to the horizon across the Hudson River.
Emotions are controlled by the levels of different chemicals in your brain. At any given moment, dozens of chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, are active. but there is no one “love” or “hate” chemical. Some of these neurotransmitters go between individual cells, while others are broadcast to entire brain regions. By layering signals on other signals, your brain can adjust your responses and can effectively alter your mood.
In the Museum exhibition Brain: The Inside Story, visitors can try out an interactive exhibit that illustrates how neurotransmitters work, find out the difference between our “lizard brain” and our “mammal brain,” and learn more about the emotional brain.