The Smithsonian Consortia conduct and support conferences of scholars and scientists to convene expertise across the Smithsonian with thought leaders from around the world.

Managing Cultural Heritage in a Climate Change(d) Future

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

10:00am - noon EST

Please join us for the webcast of a special session of Managing Cultural Heritage in a Climate Change(d) Future with keynote addresses by Ewan Hyslop, Historic Environment Scotland, and Adam Markham, Union of Concerned Scientists. The Smithsonian Institution and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are convening a UK-US Heritage Science Workshop in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the AHRC, the UK Research Council that funds research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities. The session of presentations and panel aims to identify the key challenges of sustainable heritage management in changing times. More importantly, it will explore how the arts and humanities and the sciences can learn from each other and collaborate to define new areas of research and new solutions.

BioGenomics Lightning Talks: Round 2

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

11:00am – 12:30pm

Presented by award recipients of the Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics-Global Genome Initiative (SIBG-GGI) Award Program

The SIBG-GGI awards seek to promote scholarly activities that advance the vision of Smithsonian Biodiversity Genomics: an open community dedicated to collaborative multidisciplinary discovery, exploration, and application of genomic information to increase and diffuse knowledge, understanding, and sustainability of global biodiversity.

Forty-seven proposals were submitted from 41 PIs representing 6 Smithsonian or affiliated research units for a total request of $1.9M. After a thorough peer-review process, 17 awards totaling approximately $360,000 have been made. These projects include research that will advance collecting, sequencing, and analyzing the earth’s biodiversity using genomic technologies.

To learn more about these programs visit:

BioGenomics Lightning Talks: Round 1

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

11:00am – 12:30pm

 

Presented by award recipients of the Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics-Global Genome Initiative (SIBG-GGI) Award Program

The SIBG-GGI awards seek to promote scholarly activities that advance the vision of Smithsonian Biodiversity Genomics: an open community dedicated to collaborative multidisciplinary discovery, exploration, and application of genomic information to increase and diffuse knowledge, understanding, and sustainability of global biodiversity.

On May 6 half of the awardees will present on their research with the remaining half presenting on June 17 for the second and final round of lightning talks.

Forty-seven proposals were submitted from 41 PIs representing 6 Smithsonian or affiliated research units for a total request of $1.9M. After a thorough peer-review process, 17 awards totaling approximately $360,000 have been made. These projects include research that will advance collecting, sequencing, and analyzing the earth’s biodiversity using genomic technologies.

To learn more about these programs visit:

Religion in Early America

Friday, March 20, 2015

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
National Museum of American History
Warner Bros. Theater, first floor

Free and open to the public; also available via live webcast

Thomas Jefferson's Bible
Queenof sheba
Canvas work (needlepoint), "The Queen of Sheba Admiring the Wisdom of Solomon," 1744. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Greenwood

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will convene a one-day symposium on “Religion in Early America.”  Led by Stephen Prothero, renowned Professor of Religion at Boston University, the symposium will explore three major themes that characterize the role of religion in the formation and early development of the United States.  The first theme is the diversity of religious traditions in the American colonies, and how they needed to be considered as the nation came into being.  The second is the principle of religious freedom that was incorporated into the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that has been an enduring principle of the nation.  The third is the growth of many forms of religion in the new United States and how they shaped American society during the first half of the 19th century.

Other scholars participating in the symposium are:

A major goal of the symposium is to inform the planning of an exhibition on “Religion in Early America” that is scheduled to open on the second floor of the museum in 2016, along with companion exhibitions on “Democracy in America,” and “Many Voices, One Nation.”  The latter focuses on American immigration, migration, and diversity. The new religion exhibition, which has the same themes as the symposium, will put on display a stellar sample of objects, including The Bay Psalm Book, The Washington Inaugural Bible, The Jefferson Bible, a Shaker spinning wheel, Native American wampum, George Whitfield’s portable pulpit,  George Mason’s baptismal font, a first edition Book of Mormon, a piece of Charles Finney’s Camp Meeting tent, John Carroll’s Tabernacle, a Torah Scroll from the first New York Synagogue, a child’s Noah’s Ark set, and many more.

For further information email Jaya Kaveeshwar at kaveeshwarj@si.edu.

Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics

Friday, December 12, 2014

Smithsonian Institute for Biogenomics

In association with the publication of a Special Issue of Science on Avian Genomics, the Smithsonian Consortia are celebrating the launch of the new Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics (BioGenomics). Genomics, the comprehensive study of an organism’s genome, unifies and empowers all of the biological sciences. The integration of genomic science, methods, tools, applications, and findings has already had an immeasurable impact on all corners of scientific research in biodiversity and will lead to new discoveries that will benefit current and future human societies.

With the launch of BioGenomics the Smithsonian Institution will provide the high-profile, multi-disciplinary scholarship, leadership, collaborative spirit, and logistical support necessary to enhance our understanding of the natural world through genomics. The excellence, vision, and global reach of the Smithsonian is represented by the collections and field-based initiatives of our museums and research centers, including the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the Museum Conservation Institute. Combining and coordinating our efforts in genomics will enable the Smithsonian, through synergistic opportunities, economies of scale, and partnerships to advance our knowledge and application of biodiversity genomics across all taxa in a multitude of both terrestrial and marine environments.

The program includes presentations on Avian Genomics by Dr. Erich Jarvis (Professor at Duke University), the Global Genome Initiative (GGI) by Dr. Jonathan Coddington (Director of GGI, National Museum of Natural History), and the Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics by Dr. W. John Kress (Interim Under Secretary for Science).

For additional information, please visit biogenomics.si.edu.

Living in the Anthropocene: Prospects for Climate, Economics, Health, and Security

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Smithsonian Institution’s Grand Challenges Consortia invite you to consider how humans are transforming the climate and environments of the Earth at an accelerating rate through agriculture, urbanization, transportation, the use of fossil fuels, and many other activities. Our global imprint, and the certainty that more than seven billion people will profoundly change the environment and biota of the planet for many generations to come, have led many scientists to recognize a new period of geological time called the Anthropocene, or Age of Humans. Restoring Anthropocene environments to pre-industrial conditions may be impossible, but the future need not be apocalyptic if we act soon. To make a livable Anthropocene, we must use our scientific knowledge to forecast environmental change and develop more resilient societies and cultural institutions that can adapt to the changes we can no longer avoid. This symposium features the views of leaders in the fields of climate, health, economics, and security who will consider the problems we face and offer possible solutions.

Speakers included James J. Hack, Director of the National Center for Computational Science, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that provides high performance computing resources for tackling scientific grand challenges; Rachel Kyte, Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change at The World Bank; George Luber, Epidemiologist and Associate Director for Climate Change at the Centers for Disease Control; and Admiral Thad Allen, former 23rd Commandant of the USCG and coordinator of the federal response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Following each talk, a panel of Smithsonian scholars and thinkers discussed the issues raised by the presentation. A summation of the day’s discussion was provided by Thomas L. Friedman, award winning author and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times.

Download Event Program
The full symposium is available here as a YouTube playlist.

Scots in the American West

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Speaker

The Consortium for Understanding the American Experience and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West hosted a symposium to discuss the Scottish diaspora and Scots in the American West.

In the late 1600s, Glasgow was the European center for the Virginia tobacco trade, and Scots Presbyterian dissenters in search of religious freedom established their own colonies in South Carolina and New Jersey. In the 1700s, population growth, agricultural modernization and political upheaval in Scotland were the driving forces behind more than 50,000 Scots crossing the Atlantic.

As the new American Republic looked westward, many of the earliest pioneers settling the Ohio and Tennessee valleys were of Scots or Scots-Irish descent. In the 1800s, as the United States expanded into the Trans-Mississippi American West, Scottish immigrants and their descendants shaped all phases of this movement.

The symposium examined the Scottish immigrant experience in the Trans-Mississippi West in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the substantial contributions made by Scots and Scots-Americans. What compelled Scots to leave their homeland and settle in America? How did their Scottish culture and past shape their experiences in the American West? Finally, what was the particular lure of the American West for Scots of that period? The symposium offered insight into the immigrant experience, the multifaceted forces shaping western expansion, and how it shaped American culture and society today.

Thanks to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Alliance for Scottish Roots Music, the National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, and Ms. Naoma Tate for their support of the event.
 

Download Event Program
The full symposium is available here as a YouTube playlist.
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Panel of speakers

The Smithsonian Consortia hosted a symposium to address the tremendous scope of transformations now occurring on the Earth, with profound effects on plants, animals, and natural habitats. Geologists have proposed the term Anthropocene, or “Age of Man,” for this new period of planetary history. The symposium focused on the arrival and impact of this new era through the lenses of science, history, art, culture, philosophy and economics, and promoted discussion, debate and deliberation on these issues of change.

Speakers included Charles C. Mann, journalist and author of 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created; Sabine O’Hara, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability & Environmental Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia; Richard Alley, Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University; and photographer and filmmaker Chris Jordan. To foster wide-ranging discussion of the issues, presentations were followed by responses from an interdisciplinary panel of scholars. The Honorable Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, former Congressman and Senator from Colorado, provided a summation of the day’s discussion.

Download Event Program
The full symposium is available here as a YouTube playlist.

Perspectives on Limits to Growth: Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Presentation

The Club of Rome and the Smithsonian Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet hosted a one-day symposium to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launching of Limits to Growth, the first report the Club of Rome published in 1972. This book was one of the earliest scholarly works to recognize that the world was fast approaching its sustainable limits, and forty years later, the planet continues to face many of the same economic, social and environmental challenges.

The morning session focused on the lessons of Limits to Growth. The afternoon session addressed the difficult challenges of preserving biodiversity, adjusting to a changing climate, and solving the societal issues now facing the planet. The symposium ended with a thought-provoking panel discussion among the speakers on future steps for building a sustainable planet.

Thanks to the Club of Rome, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, and Pedro and Carol Cuatrecasas for their generous support of the event.

Download Event Program

Download talks:
Dennis Meadows [ppt]
Jorgen Randers [pdf]
Doug Erwin [pdf]
Richard Alley [pdf]
Neva Goodwin [pdf]

The full symposium is available here as a YouTube playlist.