2nd Thursday Science Talks

The Virginia Museum of Natural History's 2nd Thursday Science Talks bring real-world field experience led by renowned scientists and researchers to the audience through engaging presentations.  Each month's presentation is free to the public and covers a different topic that is relevant to present day life.  All presentations are held from 6 to 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

2013-2014 Schedule

September 12, 2013
“Insect evidence from serial killings: The use of museum collections to assist investigators”
Dr. Joe Keiper, Executive Director, VMNH

October 10, 2013
“Adventures into the (Virtual) Unknown: 3D Laser Scanning and America's Past”
Dr. Bernard Means, Instructor of Anthropology, Virginia Commonwealth University

November 14, 2013
"Nuts about Squirrels: Insights from North America’s Most Familiar Rodents”
Dr. Nancy Moncrief, VMNH curator of mammals.

December 12, 2013
"Taxonomy and You: The Importance of Taxonomy in Biodiversity Studies"
Dr. Judith Winston, VMNH Curator of Marine Biology

January 9, 2014
Dr. Paul Marek, Virginia Tech
VMNH Research Associate

February 13, 2014
"Reconstructing Butetercup: From scraps of bone to fossil whale"
Dr. Alton Dooley, Curator of Paleontology, VMNH

March 13, 2014
“Hunting Dragons: Using fossils to explore lore”
Dr. DorothyBelle Poli, Associate Professor of Biology, Roanoke College
VMNH Research Associate

April 10, 2014
“Inside the RUFSI: Serving the Commonwealth Through Forensic Science Casework, Research, and Education”
Dr. Donna Boyd, Eminent Professor of Anthropological Sciences, Radford University
VMNH Research Associate
Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology are used daily to solve crimes, identify the missing, and resolve cold cases.  Boyd will give an insider’s view of the Radford University’s Forensic Science Institute’s efforts to assist federal, state, and local agencies with death investigations as well as its involvement in Forensic Science research and education.  Although all are welcome, some of the content of this talk will not be appropriate for children.

May 8, 2014 (*special members only benefit)
Bill Henika, Adjunct Professor of Geosciences, Virginia Tech Department of Geosciences and VMNH Research Associate

Where were you when the earthquake of August 23 , 2011 rocked Virginia? This was one of the most widely felt earthquakes in U. S. History. With a calculated recurrence period of between of between 385 and 1471 years it may be a long time before we feel another one just like it. Why was a relatively moderate (M5.8) temblor so widely felt?  How can there be earthquakes generated in central Virginia in the middle of the North American Tectonic plate more than 2000 miles from the nearest active tectonic plate boundary? In this talk , a veteran field geologist with more than 50 years experience tracing ancient fault lines across the Virginia Piedmont and Blue Ridge region will try to answer some of these questions based on recent research by Virginia Tech, State and Federal scientists.

**VMNH Members are invited to attend a reception following the final presentation on May 8 from 7 to 8 p.m.  The reception will be held inside the museum’s Harvest Foundation Hall of Ancient Life, and will provide an opportunity for museum members to meet and interact with this season's presenters.

Doodle Bugs!