2nd Thursday Science Talks

2015-2016 “2nd Thursday Science Talks” Series
From Cosmology to Conservation: Your world and your place in it


Next program is October 8, 2015
"DNA - The Molecule of Life"

Presented by Dr. Nancy Moncrief, curator of mammalogy at VMNH

The next edition of the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s “2nd Thursday Science Talks” takes place Thursday, October 8 at 6 p.m. when Dr. Nancy Moncrief, VMNH curator of mammalogy, presents "DNA - The Molecule of Life".  Admission to the presentation is free.

This season’s series follows the theme, “From Cosmology to Conservation: Your world and your place in it.”  In this presentation, Dr. Moncrief will explore basic genetic concepts, such as mutation and variation.  She will provide examples of mechanisms that produce and maintain genetic variation in populations, and she will share details from her ongoing studies of squirrels.

In addition to her role as curator, Dr. Moncrief serves as an associated researcher within the University of Virginia's Department of Environmental Sciences and she has served numerous terms as Chair of the Natural History and Biodiversity Section of the Virginia Academy of Sciences.

Moncrief earned a Ph.D. in Zoology from Louisiana State University, a Master of Science in Biology from Fort Hays State University, and B.S. in Biology from Memphis State University.
The museum's "2nd Thursday Science Talks" take place on the second Thursday of each month through May 12, 2016. 

Attendance is free due to contributions to the VMNH Discovery Fund.  The presentations are delivered by VMNH curators, VMNH researchers, as well as VMNH research associates.  Geared towards audiences with a keen interest in science, the presentations also increase awareness of the varied and unique scientific career paths available for local students.

 2015-16 Schedule

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The universe and our only blue planet

Presented by Dr. Denny Casey, Director of Education & Public Programs, VMNH

During this presentation, Dr. Casey will explore what makes earth special, what conditions are needed for life, and how we are searching for life on other worlds. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015
DNA - The molecule of life

Presented by Dr. Nancy Moncrief, Curator of Mammalogy, VMNH

In this presentation, Dr. Moncrief will explore the subject of evolution through the scientific eye of basic genetic concepts. Dr. Moncrief will also provide examples of how DNA is used as a tool in natural history research.

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Our precursors: early plants and animals

Presented by Dr. Dorothybelle Poli, Associate Professor of Biology, Roanoke College

During this presentation, Dr. Poli will navigate the evolution of plant life on Earth.  How did early photosynthesis arise?  How did it change the planet?  What were the first plants on Earth?  Find out the answers to these questions and more this November. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015
Dinosaurs and life thereafter

Presented by Dr. Alex Hastings, Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, VMNH

This December, Dr. Alex Hastings will explore a time period often overlooked, when the dinosaurs first became extinct.  Dr. Hastings will discuss dinosaur extinction, what took their place, and what the world was like after dinosaurs.

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Biodiversity and your place in it

Presented by Dr. Kaloyan Ivanov, Assistant Curator of Recent Invertebrates, VMNH

This coming January, Dr. Ivanov will examine the vast diversity of life on Earth.  Why are there so many kinds of animal?  What benefits are conveyed by biodiversity?  These questions and more will be answered this January at the museum.

Thursday, February 11, 2016
Archaeology: Virginia’s past cultures

Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Curator of Archaeology, VMNH

The land that is now known as Virginia has been home to a wide variety of cultures for many centuries.  During this presentation, Dr. Moore will discuss how past cultures have adapted to Virginia's changing environments, developing and adopting new plants and animals.

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Dr. Charles P. Egeland, Assistant Professor, Biological Anthropology and Paleoanthropology, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Thursday, April 14, 2016
How do we protect what we have?

Presented by Tiffany Haworth, Executive Director, Dan River Basin Association

Our natural resources are vital to the survival and continuation of life on this planet.  During this presentation, Tiffany Haworth will discuss conservation priorities and how they are determined, as well as what the current priorities in Virginia and the Dan River Basin are.

Thursday, May 12, 2016
The importance of museums in the 21st century

Presented by Dr. Joe B. Keiper, Executive Director, VMNH

Museums serve a vital role in new discoveries and past history.  In this presentation, Dr. Keiper will discuss the traditional reasons to have museums, the decline of collections facilities, the tangible benefits of museums to societal problems, and how to best manage museums as we move forward.

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