E. O. Wilson’s Global Town Hall

Daily Planet Theater

The Daily Planet

If I haven’t been blogging quite as consistently as I like to recently, it’s due in part to the event in the post title, E. O. Wilson’s Global Town Hall.  This is a big event that my museum is hosting this week that is being broadcast far and wide, so I wanted to tell you all a bit about it in case you’re interested in “attending.”

So, the big news is that E. O. Wilson is coming to the museum where I work, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences!  He’ll be at the museum for several events this Thursday, December 13, but only some parts of it are open to the public.  I’ll get to those in a moment.  First, allow me to express my excitement that E. O. Wilson is coming to my museum:  WOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Okay, little mini freak out is over.  I think E. O. Wilson excites a lot of biologists, other scientists, and the public.  However, I think he might be extra exciting to entomologists.  I might not study ants, but how can I not appreciate that one of the most well-known scientists in the world is an entomologist?  And he’s coming to my museum!  WOOOOOOOOOOO!

But I digress!  Here’s the lineup for the day…

1) Dr. Wilson attends the Director’s Brunch at the Museum

You have to have been invited to this to attend and I believe it will be attended by a lot of local big wigs.  I’m apparently neither big nor wiggy enough to go as I wasn’t invited, but that’s okay!  I care more about part of the event that happens later in the day anyway.

2) E. O. Wilson’s Global Town Hall

At 1PM Eastern Standard Time, Dr. Wilson will give a public talk about biodiversity that will be broadcast live around the world from the Daily Planet Theater in the new Nature Research Center (the interior of the big globe on the front of the building, the globe in the photo above).  The Daily Planet itself and the second and third floor viewing areas will all be packed with high school students who were selected by some mysterious process I wasn’t involved in.  No one else will be allowed inside the theater.  However, there are two other ways you can see the talk.  If you’re in the Triangle Area and want to come down to the Museum for the event, we will be streaming the talk live in both the Environmental Conference Center on the fourth floor of the Nature Research Center and in the Auditorium on the first floor of the main building.  If you’re not in the Triangle Area, you can still the watch the talk live online.  Rather than retyping all the details here, let me direct you to the Museum’s page about the event for more information about the live streaming.  It’s in the second paragraph.  Even if you can’t come to the Museum and aren’t able to watch the talk live, you can still see it: it will be available for viewing online after the event.

Daily Planet Interior

Looking down into the Daily Planet from the second floor observation area

There are a few reasons why you might want to either come to the museum to watch the talk or watch the live feed, but this is the biggie: even if you aren’t in the room during the talk, you can still ask questions!  There will be a group of people watching the Twitter feed for the event for questions and another group fielding questions from the audience throughout the museum.  These people will then relay your questions to Dr. Wilson, who will answer as many as he has time for.  It’s going to be pretty awesome I think.

Citizen Science Center

Near the entrance of the Citizen Science Center

3.  Citizen Science Center Ribbon Cutting

This is the part of the event I’m most excited about!  The Citizen Science Center is the Museum’s citizen science exhibit.  It’s meant to give people an introduction to citizen science – what it is, how to get involved, etc – and direct people to citizen science activities throughout the museum.  At approximately 2pm EST, immediately after the talk, Dr. Wilson will have a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new and improved Citizen Science Center!  Why does Dr. Wilson care about our Citizen Science Center?  Because it will house the first ever permanent display of his interactive eTextbook, E. O. Wilson’s Life on Earth, in a museum.  We’ve overhauled the exhibit in anticipation of the event (the Exhibits staff at the museum are AMAZING – I’m so thrilled I got to work with them on the exhibit!), and added several great new features.  I’m excited about Dr. Wilson’s textbook, which will be displayed on iPads throughout the room, but I’m particularly excited that we will have the first museum-based SciStarter kiosk right alongside the E. O. Wilson textbook.  I adore SciStarter and am thrilled to promote the excellent work of Darlene Cavalier, John Ohab, and the other wonderful people at SciStarter.  They do a fantastic job of connecting the public to science through citizen science projects, so I am very happy that we now feature them in our citizen science exhibit.

4) Book Signing

After the ribbon cutting for his part of the exhibit in the Citizen Science Center, Dr. Wilson will spend about a half hour talking to the media before he will finish the day with a book signing.  If you have E. O. Wilson books that you’ve always wanted to have signed or would like to purchase a copy of one of his books to have it signed, come on out to the museum!  I believe everyone will be limited to a single book so that Dr. Wilson can get through everyone as easily as possible (the guy is 83 after all!), but it’s a great chance to get that autograph you’ve always wanted.

So that’s the event!  I might not even have a chance to meet Dr. Wilson in person, but it’s going to be a ton of fun anyway.  I am personally most excited that the event prompted the update of the Citizen Science Center, which needed some help, but the whole thing should be a blast.  If you’re in the Triangle Area, I definitely encourage you to stop by the museum on Thursday afternoon.  Otherwise, check out the live feed.  It should be a good talk.


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