In December 1957, two months after the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik 1, the first human-made object to enter space and the catalyst for the space race, the Museum published a memo titled “Calling All Scientists,” which observed how the lone satellite had shifted the public appraisal of scientists. “[P]ress people dashed up to the museum to get the Planetarium staff to help them explain to the public what had happened,” the memo read. “The scientists are now being turned to for guidance.”
Another fast-approaching holiday season brings a rush of food, fun, laughter, and memories. Fabio Parasecoli, an associate professor in The New School’s Food Studies program, explores the ways food memories shape how we view ourselves and our connection to communal and cultural memories. Join Parasecoli on Wednesday, December 14, for this month’s Adventures in the Global Kitchen, Sugar Skulls to King Cakes: Global Memories and Holiday Traditions, to learn about holiday food traditions from around the globe, to taste a variety of beloved holiday desserts, and for the chance to win an authentic Mexican sugar skull. Recently, Parasecoli answered a few questions about holiday foods.
Fourth-year Richard Gilder Graduate School (RGGS) doctoral student Shaena Montanari uses her geology training and subtle clues left by dinosaurs to reconstruct the environment of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert as it was 70 million years ago. Based on an innovative approach that takes cues from the geochemistry of dinosaur eggshells, Montanari’s latest findings—that late in the Mesozoic “age of the dinosaurs” the Gobi desert was a much wetter and warmer place than today—were presented this week at a poster session of the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
For the past five years, Museum scientists, in collaboration with the Panthera Foundation, a nonproﬁt organization dedicated to protecting big cats in the wild, have been tracking tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards through DNA in scat, or fecal specimens, gathered in the ﬁeld. Now, through a generous grant from the Leslie and Daniel Ziff Foundation, the Global Felid Conservation Genetics Program can accelerate the pace of this important work by expanding the program’s laboratory component.
“We’re very excited about it,” says George Amato, director of the Museum’s Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics and the Center for Conservation Genetics, which is responsible for sequencing the big cats’ DNA and analyzing the results. “In terms of scale, it is now the largest project of its kind in the world.”