Adults, teachers, middle and high school students, and the general public are invited to attend free lectures on topical issues in science and conservation.

2016 Lectures

Stratospheric Balloons Over Antarctica: Astrophysics with Instruments 125,000 Feet Above the Ground

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
7:30 p.m. in The Living World
Free. No reservations are needed.

Featured Speaker: Martin H. Israel, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, Department of Physics and the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis; Fellow, The Academy of Science – St. Louis

During the Antarctic summer (December and January), scientists from Washington University's Cosmic Ray Group, in collaboration with partners from across the globe, launch their research into the stratosphere in a quest to understand the fundamental nature of our universe. Helium-filled balloons as big as a football stadium lift two-ton instruments above 99.5% of the atmosphere. There, one of these instruments detects cosmic rays– atomic nuclei that have been accelerated by stellar explosions to speeds close to the speed of light. These cosmic rays help us understand how stars in our Milky Way Galaxy make heavy elements from lighter elements. Another instrument looks down from that altitude monitoring a million square kilometers of ice for radio pulses signaling the arrival of extremely high-energy neutrinos. Since the universe is almost perfectly transparent to neutrinos, the highest energy neutrinos are probably messengers from extremely distant galaxies. You won't want to miss this fascinating talk by Academy Fellow, Martin Israel, on astrophysics in Antarctica!

The Science Seminar Series is co-sponsored by the Academy of Science-St. Louis and the Saint Louis Zoo. 

Protecting Painted Dogs in Zimbabwe

Thursday, February 18, 2016
7:30 p.m. in The Living World
Free. No reservations are needed.

Featured speaker: Dr. Greg Rasmussen, Ph.D., Founder of Painted Dog Research Trust

Dr. Greg Rasmussen, an expert in the field of predator conservation biology, will discuss the importance of protecting the painted dog population and building a complete future for wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe. Dr. Rasmussen has worked with painted dogs for over 25 years, founding the Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe in 1992. Two years ago, Dr. Rasmussen started the Painted Dog Research Trust, also in Zimbabwe.

This Conservation Conversation is presented by the Saint Louis Zoo, in partnership with the Academy of Science-St. Louis.

Combating The Evolution of Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs Across Diverse Habitats

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
7:30 p.m. in The Living World
Free. No reservations are needed.

Featured Speaker: Gautam Dantas, Ph.D., 2015 Outstanding St. Louis Scientist Innovation Award recipient, The Academy of Science of St. Louis; and Associate Professor, Department of Pathology & Immunology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine

Disease-causing bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to all available antibiotics, causing approximately 23,000 deaths and costing the U.S., $35 billion each year. This scenario is predicted to worsen, with fewer and fewer new drugs coming to market. New DNA sequencing and computational technologies are enabling a deeper understanding of how antibiotic resistance evolves and spreads in diverse bacteria, providing critical insights into prevention and diagnosis of future infections.

The Science Seminar Series is co-sponsored by the Academy of Science-St. Louis and the Saint Louis Zoo. 

Warlords of Ivory: Film and Lecture by John Heminway

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
7:30 p.m. in The Living World
Free. No reservations are needed. 

Featured Speaker: John Heminway is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, with a focus on nature, science, history, and Africa. Heminway's 2013 broadcast, "Battle For The Elephants," was voted Best Conservation Film at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in 2013. Its sequel, "Warlords of Ivory," premiered on 30 August 2015, was linked to a National Geographic Magazine cover story and has had geo-political impact in the U.S. and overseas.

Using new technology, the film will document the torturous route illicit ivory takes across Africa, putting this great species in jeopardy across its range, and destroying many human lives along the way. John Heminway will discuss his ideas of the elephant's future and will show how hope lies in a new approach to facing wildlife crime.

This Conservation Conversation is presented by the Saint Louis Zoo, in partnership with the Academy of Science-St. Louis.

Forest Park Owls: Hiding In Plain Sight

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
7:30 p.m. in The Living World
Free. No reservations are needed.

Featured Speaker: Mark H. X. Glenshaw is an award-winning naturalist who has observed and documented great horned owls in Forest Park in St. Louis since December 2005.

Great horned owls are the most widespread, commonly found owl in North America, living almost everywhere from our most remote wild areas to urban parks. Mark's talk will cover how he found these owls in Forest Park, basic facts about the species, and the different behaviors he has been able to see and document including hooting, hunting, mating, and rearing of young, with photos and videos to illustrate these behaviors. Watch as one of our top and most adaptable predators comes to vivid life. Do not be surprised to find yourself looking for owls afterwards!

This Conservation Conversation is presented by the Saint Louis Zoo, in partnership with the Academy of Science-St. Louis.


More Information

Reservations are not necessary. Admission is free.

All lectures take place in the Anheuser-Busch Theatre in The Living World/North Entrance at the Saint Louis Zoo. For more information, call (314) 646-4544.