2018 Distinguished Lecture: Dr. Kirk Johnson, Director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

Kirk Johnson, a world-renowned paleontologist who focuses on fossil plants and the extinction of the dinosaurs, will visit Virginia Tech on Friday, February 16.

He will give a 4 p.m. distinguished lecture, “Natural History in the Age of Humans,” at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing in the theatre’s main lobby.

Dr. Kirk Johnson

Dr. Kirk Johnson is the Sant Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He oversees more than 440 employees and a collection of more than 145 million objects—the largest natural history collection in the world. The Museum hosts more than 7 million visitors annually and, in 2017, its scientists published over 760 scientific research papers and described more than 300 new species.

Johnson is a paleontologist who has led expeditions that have resulted in the discovery of more than 1,400 fossil sites. His research focuses on fossil plants and the extinction of the dinosaurs. He is known for his scientific articles, popular books, museum exhibitions, documentaries, and collaborations with artists. In 2010-11, he led the excavation of an ice age site near Snowmass Village, Colorado, that recovered more than 5,400 bones of mammoths, mastodons and other ice age animals. This dig was featured in the NOVA documentary, Ice Age Death Trap, and in Johnson’s book, Digging Snowmastodon, Discovering an Ice Age World in the Colorado Rockies. His recent documentaries include the three-part NOVA series Making North America, which aired on PBS networks in November 2015, and The Great Yellowstone Thaw which premiered on PBS in June 2017.

This event is part of the annual Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech, with funding from the Fralin Life Sciences Institute and the Virginia Tech Graduate School.

For more information about the event, please contact the Global Change Center at 231-5400 or by email at schoeng@vt.edu.

The Lyric Theatre is located at 135 College Ave. in Blacksburg. Doors will open at 3 p.m. Metered parking is available on the street as well as in the Kent Square garage. Anyone parking on the Virginia Tech campus before 5:00 pm will need a permit.

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