Houston Museum of Natural Science

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Event/Item Event Scheduled  
Lecture - Houston’s Prehistoric Energy Corridor by Jason Barrett


In the fall of 1996, during the planning stages for Houston's Grand Parkway, archaeologists discovered a prehistoric site on a low floodplain mound along the banks of Cypress Creek. The site, later named Dimond Knoll, yielded the greatest density of prehistoric stone artifacts among any site recorded previously in the region. This rich artifact record at Dimond Knoll -- going back as far as the Late Paleoindian period (ca. 8000 B.C.) with a prolific Late Prehistoric (ca. 700-1500 A.D.) assemblage of artifacts -- sheds new light on the prehistoric heritage of the Houston area, providing evidence for recurring visitation by mobile foraging groups spanning a period of nearly ten millennia. The nearly 1,000 artifacts recovered and analyzed reveals shifts in adaptive strategies and the influence of external culture areas, and suggests that trade corridors weaving through Texas' coastal region were established several thousand years earlier than previously assumed.


Dr. Jason Barrett, archaeologist with the Texas Department of Transportation's Environmental Affairs Division, will explore the dynamic cultural and environmental factors that characterized the Houston area prior to the arrival of Europeans. Barrett directed the intensive archaeological investigations undertaken in 2012 which gave rise to one of the most successful public outreach efforts ever initiated by TxDOT's Archeological Studies Branch.


This lecture is sponsored by the Houston Archeology Society.

6:30 PM
Lecture - Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs


The evidence is irrefutable: Dr. Kathy Reichs’ 16 New York Times bestsellers and television series Bones kindles America’s fascination with crime-scene science. As a forensic anthropologist, Reich’s brings her own work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. In addition to consulting for medical examiners, training FBI agents and teaching at universities, she has used her expertise in commingled body parts to aid in the identification of victims at sites of mass destruction. Reichs will discuss the highlights of her multiple careers -- as a forensic anthropologist, television producer, and author.


Your ticket to this event includes a hardback copy of Reichs’ latest book Bones Never Lie, which will be released September 23. She will sign copies after the program.


Tickets $35 if purchased by September 22, $40 starting September 23


Book included with lecture ticket


Book signing is in partnership with Murder By the Book.


6:30 PM
Film Screening - Particle Fever


Imagine being able to watch Franklin received his first jolt of electricity or Edison turn on the first light bulb! Particle Fever gives you a front row seat to our generation’s most significant and inspiring scientific breakthrough as it happens the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet. 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries join forces in pursuit of a single goal: to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and find the Higgs boson, potentially explaining the origin of all matter. But our heroes confront an even bigger challenge: have we reached our limit in understanding why we exist? Particle Fever is a celebration of discovery, revealing the very human stories behind the tale of this epic experiment.


Join Dr. Paul Padley, one of the Rice University professors who worked on the Higgs boson discovery on the Hadron Collider, for this one-night-only event.


6:00 PM
Lecture - Gulf of Mexico Biodiversity and Oil Spill Resilience by Wes Tunnell


The Gulf of Mexico is one of the most ecologically and economically valuable bodies of water on Earth producing 1.4 billion pounds of commercial fishery landings each year valued at $660 million, and it harbors 15,419 species. In contrast to this great biodiversity and productivity, there are environmental impacts and problems that contend with a healthy Gulf. Large percentages of Gulf habitats have been lost due to many environmental insults, such as overfishing, habitat loss and destruction, degraded water quality, extensive coastal development, and climate change. Dr. Wes Tunnel will explain how the Gulf appears quite resilient in the face of all of these problems, and what a tipping point of too many problems might eventually cause. Dr. Wes Tunnell is Associate Director and Endowed Chair of Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.  He serves as adjunct curator of malacology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This lecture is co-sponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

6:30 PM
Lecture - The World Converges in a Byzantine Port by Ulfuk Kocabas


Recently, construction workers digging a subway tunnel in Istanbul stumbled on a 4th century port. Excavations reveal a vibrant hub of commercial activity that brought the world to the Byzantine Empire. This was the glory of Constantinople! Not only did ships bring spectacular wealth to the Byzantine Empire, they also brought ideas as well. Dr. Ufuk Kocabas, director of Istanbul University’s Department of Marine Archeology and the Yenikapi Shipwrecks Project, will explain what evidences has been uncovered at the ancient Harbor of Theodosius, the principal port of Constantinople.


This lecture is cosponsored by AIA – Houston with support from the Turkish Consulate General, Houston.

6:30 PM
Lecture - Ethics without God? The Evolution of Morality and Empathy in the Primates by Frans de Waal


Empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans. In his work with monkeys, apes and elephants, Dr. Frans de Waal has found many cases of one individual coming to another's aid in a fight, putting an arm around a previous victim of attack, or other emotional responses to the distress of others.

By studying social behavior in animals -- such as bonding and alliances, expressions of consolation, conflict resolution, and a sense of fairness -- de Waal demonstrates that animals and humans are preprogrammed to reach out, questioning the assumption that humans are inherently selfish. Understanding empathy's survival value in evolution can help to build a more just society based on a more accurate view of human nature. Religion may add to a moral society, but as an addition and way to enforce good behavior rather than as the source of good behavior.


Dr. Frans de Waal is a professor of psychology at Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. Following the lecture Dr. de Waal will sign copies of his latest book is The Bonobo and the Atheist.


This lecture is sponsored by The Leakey Foundation.

6:30 PM
Lecture - Bats: The Night Shift by Cullen Geiselman


Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight and they have radiated into almost every habitat on earth.  They are responsible for eating millions of night-flying insects, dispersing seeds in rain forests, and pollinating plants in deserts.  Only three out of the 1,300+ species of bats are vampires and feed solely on the blood of other mammals and birds. Other bats are carnivorous and capture small vertebrate prey, such as lizards, birds, and even other bats.  Their great diversity of feeding strategies is a testament to the adaptability of these nocturnal animals and reveals their important roles they play within ecosystems.  During her lecture, Dr. Cullen Geiselman will give a brief summary of the world’s bat species, their habitats, and adaptations and discuss their ecological functions and the benefits they provide to humans within different environments. She will end by bringing it all back to the 38 bat species found in Texas highlighting the 8 or so that call Houston home. Bat researcher and conservationist Dr. Cullen Geiselman has studied bats around the globe. She currently serves on the board of directors of Bat Conservation International. This lecture is co-sponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

6:30 PM
Lecture - Camp Logan, a WWI Emergency Training Center in Houston by Louis Aulbach and Linda Gorski


Camp Logan, a military training base built in 1917 housed 44,000 soldiers in what is now Houston's Memorial Park.  To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, historians Louis Aulbach and Linda Gorski will present a program on this almost-forgotten chapter in Houston's history and the archaeological work done at the site where foundation features of the camp remain in the wooded areas of Memorial Park and have been declared State Archeological Landmarks.  This presentation will be a tribute to the soldiers who trained at Camp Logan - including nine Medal of Honor winners and seventy one African American soldiers who won the French Croix de Guerre. Following the lecture, Aulbach, Gorski and co-author Robbie Morin will sign copies of their new book Camp Logan Houston Texas 1917 - 1919.

6:30 PM
Lecture - Growing an Ark: The Expanding Role of Gardens in Plant Conservation by Peter Wyse Jackson


Often referred to as “living museums,” over 3,000 botanic gardens are known in 175 countries and territories worldwide, most of which were established since 1950. Botanic gardens’ efforts to rescue plants from extinction through expanded research, conservation programs, and environmental education is leading to their increasingly influential role in the development of international policies in biodiversity conservation. Peter Wyse Jackson will take you on an around-the-world journey that showcases a wide range of some of the most significant successes and contributions by botanic gardens, both individually and collectively.


Peter Wyse Jackson, Ph.D. is director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and former Secretary-General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International.


This lecture is cosponsored with The Mercer Society.

6:30 PM
Lecture - Ice Age Yucatan by Dominique Rissolo


The complete, well preserved skeleton of a young girl from over 12,000 years ago was found in an underwater cave on the Yucatan Peninsula. Nicknamed “Princess Naia,” her remains are among the oldest yet found in the Americas. Her discovery is reshaping our understanding of human migration into the Western Hemisphere. This lecture is presented by marine archaeologist Dr. Dominique Rissolo, expedition coordinator for the Waitt Institute.


This lecture is cosponsored by AIA – Houston.

6:30 PM