Friday, January 29, 2010

Girl Scouts Rock! at the Museum of the Earth

Girl Scout Workshops

February 27th - Junior Rocks Rock! - 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

March 6th - Junior Oil Up - 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

March 20th - Brownie Dino Try-it - 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

March 27th - Cadette/Senior Archaeology - 11 am to 3 pm

May 29th - Cadette/Senior Digging through the Past - 10:30 am to 3 pm **

** Digging Through the Past badge requires transportation during the workshop between the Museum and Taughannock Falls State Park and a packed lunch for each scout. Entry to Taughannock Falls State Park requires the purchase of a $7 day pass or an Empire Pass for each vehicle.

• The cost for the Brownie Try-It Workshops is $6 per scout, for the Junior Badge Workshops $ 8 per scout, and for the Cadette/Senior Badge Workshop the fee is $10 per scout. Adults are $4 each for all programs. Try-its, badges and patches are not included with workshops.

• A $40 deposit is required to complete registration for workshops.

• All programs require a minimum number of 15 scouts. If the minimum number is not met two weeks prior to the workshop the program will be cancelled. All canceled programs will be fully refunded.

• No refunds will be given (unless a program is cancelled by the museum).

• Interested in a program but can't make it on these dates? Call the Education office to schedule a date that will work for your troop.

• Need service projects for a troop member or your whole troop? Contact the Education Office to find out more about service projects at Museum of the Earth!

• To register for a workshop, or for more information, please contact Museum Operations & Programs Coordinator Johanna Batman, at 607.273.6623 ext. 13 or batman@museumoftheearth.org

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fossil of the Week


1/28/10 – Nautiloid Phragmocone

This rather square-looking fossil is a piece of a nautiloid cephalopod (an extinct relative of the Chambered Nautilus) named for PRI’s founding director, Gilbert Harris. In fact, the entire genus was named for him! This fossil’s name is Harrisoceras orthoceroides Flower*, 1939. It is a holotype** from the Waukesha dolomite of the Middle Silurian Period (approx. 425 million years ago) of Lemont, Cook County, Illinois – more specifically from excavations (always a good opportunity for fossil collecting!) made for the Chicago drainage canal running southwest of the city. The description of this genus and species, plus four other new species and two reassigned to this genus (in Journal of Paleontology, vol. 13, no. 5, pages 473-480), describes the distinguishing feature as a particularly well-developed central canal of the siphonal vascular system. This is part of the mechanism by which nautiloids, past and present, control their buoyancy for swimming in the sea. The genus was named for Harris in thanks for providing access to the PRI collections, and in recognition of his scientific contributions. Today it is classified in the family Geisonoceratidae. Species are known from middle America (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin), China, Italy, Estonia, and “Bohemia” (now part of the Czech Republic).

The specimen: This holotype is a fragment of the shell of the nautiloid, and based on its size and other characteristics, is thought to be a piece from just behind the “living chamber” or the part of the shell that the living animal occupied. Nautiloid shells are made up of many chambers, all but the last of which are mostly filled with gas for buoyancy. These gas-filled chambers are collectively called the “phragmocone” of the shell. The central canal, which is the distinctive character of the new genus, is the central column seen in the photograph; the small holes and ridges radiating from the holes to the edge are also parts of the siphonal vascular system. This type of nautiloid had a straight, cone-shaped shell, rather than a coiled one like the modern Chambered Nautilus; the species name means “straight horn.” Approximately 2,500 species of fossil nautiloids are known, but only a handful of species survive today.

The species: This species is actually the “genotype,” also called the type species of the genus. So, this species represents the genus in the same way that a type specimen represents a species. It is the “name bearer” and will always belong in the genus Harrisoceras; all other species can be reclassified into other genera if studies so indicate. But Harrisoceras orthoceroides will always be a member of Harrisoceras (except of course if the entire genus is synonymized with another genus – but that’s a story for some other time – and so far, it has not!).

*See Fossil of the Week 11/19/09 - Virgoceras cancellatum for more about the author, Rousseau H. Flower.

**See Fossil of the Week 8/19/09 - Cerithium gainesensis for a definition of "holotype."

Text by Paula Mikkelsen

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Indepth Look at Marcellus Shale

By:
This article is reprinted with permission from Tompkins Weekly

Rob Ross and Tracey Smrecak conduct research on Devonian layers of shale and limestone at the Paleontological Research Institute and the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca.Rob Ross and Trisha Smrecak conduct research on Devonian layers of shale and limestone at the Paleontological Research Institute and the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca. Photo by:

Pick up a chunk of Marcellus shale and you immediately understand why energy companies are interested in it: it’s dark, like coal, and leaves a greasy smear on your hand. Like all sedimentary rock, the Marcellus shale was created by compressing layers of mud together for a long, long time. But unlike the shale you turn up in your garden, Marcellus doesn’t contain fossilized crinoid stems or brachiopods.

Rob Ross, associate director of outreach for the Paleontological Research Institute and the Museum of the Earth, says that to understand Marcellus, you need to understand where our part of the world was about 380 million years ago. Back then all the continents were smooshed together along the equator, and seawater covered our part of New York. It was a dynamic place, Ross says, thriving with ancient life and suffering the occasional underwater landslide.

When organisms died, they fell to the sea bottom and were covered with sediment. It was just like the mud in Cayuga Lake — a mix of clay and silt but low in oxygen. Over time more sediment collected, burying the Marcellus deeper. The organic matter, trapped in the shale and subjected to increasing pressure and heat, provided optimum conditions for the formation of natural gas, Ross explains. (You can read more at www.museumoftheearth.org.)

If you could slice through the earth, you’d notice that the rocks under New York are layered like a tall stack of pancakes — all 11,000 feet of them: sandstones, limestones and shales. And Marcellus shale is but one of the gas-bearing layers. Oriskany sandstone, located just below Marcellus, and Trenton- Black River, another four to five thousand feet down, also produce natural gas in this area.

Unlike sandstone, Marcellus shale is composed of fine-grained clay particles so tightly packed that there are very tiny spaces, or pores, between the particles. And those very tiny spaces are where the natural gas is trapped. Not only that, the pores are not connected to each other, so gas can’t travel from one pore to the next. The only way to extract gas from a stone with such low porosity and low permeability is to break it apart using a process called hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing seems like a modern invention, but it’s been used for thousands of years, says Tony Ingraffea. Ingraffea, a civil engineering professor at Cornell who studies fractures and spent a decade working with Schlumberger on the science of fracking. Ingraffea believes the Romans introduced water into cracks to aid in breaking rock. One way to frack with just water is to pour water into cracks in the rock and let it freeze, Ingraffea explains.

A rock is strong when you push on it, Ingraffea says. That’s compression. But a rock is weak when you pull on it, or put tension on it. Engineers use water pressure to put tension on rock and take advantage of the weakness of the rock when it’s under tension.

Initially hydro-fracking of oil and gas wells was used to open existing cracks. The process was called “stimulating” the well, and it increased the permeability of the rock mass by enarlging existing fractures. “As long as the pores in the rock are interconnected, you can get oil to flow,” Ingraffea says. But in shale the pores are not interconnected, which makes the rock impermeable to water. “This is good from a fracking point of view,” Ingraffea says,” because the water will create fractures without going into the rock.”

Because the layer of Marcellus shale is only 50 to 250 feet thick companies developed horizontal drilling to expose more shale to hydro-fracking. Once the horizontal casing is in place, the driller uses a shaped charge to perforate the case.

“There’s no explosion,” Ingraffea explains. A charge is fired electronically and releases a high temperature liquid that melts through the casing. The charge burns through the rock a few feet, leaving small holes. Each of those holes becomes a starting place for a fracture, when the water and sand are pumped into the well under high pressure.

What people don’t understand is the extent of drilling required to extract the gas trapped in the rock, Ingraffea says. Hydro-fracking is just a small part of what Ingraffea describes as a “highly engineered and industrial operation.”

“Gas wells won’t be dotting the area,” Ingraffea says. “They will be covering the area. For efficient extraction of the gas we will eventually end up with multiple wells every 80 acres,” he suggests, citing new research from Terry Engelder at Pennsylvania State University. “That will be a huge industrial impact in our area.”

This industrialization will put added demand on an already strained infrastructure, Ingraffea says, explaining that the region’s roads and bridges are not suited for the heavy traffic anticipated with development of the Marcellus. The increased drilling activity and related activities not only raise the risk for accidents, such as valve failures, leaks, improper cemented casings, but also increase the risk of spills with the transportation of wastewater and brine. Extracting gas brings a complex system of inter-related activities and events, Ingraffea points out.

“The question we should be asking is why now?” Ingraffea says. “Why is there a rush to develop the gas fields? Why don’t we have a national energy strategy that promotes energy development over a longer term? What are we saving for our children and grandchildren?”

This Thursday, Jan. 28, Ingraffea will discuss “Hydraulic Fracturing from an Engineering Perspective.” The program is at 7 p.m. in Beecher Hall at the Park Church, 208 W. Gray St. in Elmira. For more information contact the church office at 733-9104 or office@theparkchurch .org; or Doug at 734-5433 or dcouchon@ yahoo.com. The program is sponsored by the Park Church and People for a Healthy Environment.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What's happneing?

THIS WEEKEND AT the MUSEUM OF THE EARTH:

Natural History At Noon

Natural History at Noon - Spectacular Saturn
Saturday, January 23
Noon

Join Museum of the Earth on a journey through space as Joe Burns from Cornell University shows visitors images of Saturn, its rings and satellites that have been obtained over the last five years of the Cassini mission. Two satellites, Titan and Enceladus, will be described in detail.; the former has a dense methane and nitrogen atmosphere with methane rain and lakes; the latter, a tiny moon, spews geysers of water from its South pole. Saturn’s rings and their interaction with nearby moons will be emphasized.

COMING SOON:

Darwin Days Banner

We would like to invite you to celebrate Charles Darwin’s Birthday (February 12) during our weeklong celebration of his work and his ideas. This year we have themed our events around biodiversity as 2010 was declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the General Assembly of the United Nations. We'll be hosting a series of panel discussions, lectures, a day of family fun, and an evening birthday party. Check out our schedule below!

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, February 9
PANEL DISCUSSION: “Evolution and Biodiversity on Land”
at 5 pm in CU’s G10 Biotech

Wednesday, February 10
PANEL DISCUSSION: “Evolution and Biodiversity in the Sea”
at 5 pm in CU’s G10 Biotech

Thursday, February 11
LECTURE: "Saving all the Pieces: Evolutionary Benchmarks for Conservation" with Dr. Harry Greene, Cornell University, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
at 5 p.m. in
CU’s Lewis Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall

Friday, February 12
LECTURE: “Constructing Biodiversity: From Darwin to the Cambrian Explosion” with Dr. Douglas Erwin, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
at 5 pm in CU’s Lewis Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall

RECEPTION: A lively birthday gathering with appetizers, desserts and wine featuring a sneak peek of our upcoming exhibit. 7 pm to 9 pm at the Museum of the Earth. Tickets $10. Call 607.273.6623 x11 to purchase or visit us at any of the other Darwin Days events.

Saturday, February 13
FAMILY DAY: Darwin Family Day from 11 am to 3 pm at the Museum of the Earth. Take a voyage through the Museum with fun crafts, experiments, and presentations along the way! Included with Museum admission. Free for members.

LECTURE: “The Arms Race at a Snail's Pace: Coevolution between Predator and Prey in the Fossil Record” with Dr. Greg Dietl, Director of Collections,PRI at noon in the Museum of the Earth’s classroom. Included with Museum admission. Free for members.

Learn more about Darwin Days at www.ithacadarwindays.org

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Natural History at Noon

Join Museum of the Earth on a journey through space as Joe Burns from Cornell University shows visitors images of Saturn, its rings and satellites that have been obtained over the last five years of the Cassini mission. Two satellites, Titan and Enceladus, will be described in detail.; the former has a dense methane and nitrogen atmosphere with methane rain and lakes; the latter, a tiny moon, spews geysers of water from its South pole. Saturn’s rings and their interaction with nearby moons will be emphasized.

Saturday, January 23
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Included with your Museum admission!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fossil of the Week


This week’s fossil is a scallop* from Texas, Amusium zinguli, described by Christopher Garvie in 1996. It was collected (as the label reads) from the Lower Eocene of Bastrop County, near Austin, in south-central Texas. The “i”-ending of the species name tells us that it was named after someone (actually a man [if a woman, it would have ended in “ae”] – this is called a “patronym”); in this case, the published paper (in Bulletins of American Paleontology, no. 352) indicates that it is named after Dr. Richard Zingula, a paleontologist at Exxon Corporation in Houston. The specimen is a paratype**, and very small – less than 4 millimeters (less than one-quarter of an inch) in diameter. The largest specimen known at the time of the species’ description was only 4.5 millimeters, so this is not a juvenile of a larger bivalve – it is adult at this very small size! This is something very true in biology, both past and present – the vast majority of organisms are small in size. Although T. rex and blue whales get a lot of the attention, big animals are very much in the minority on Earth.

The scientist: Not all “scientists” are actually paid to be scientists. Chris Garvie is a very good example of an avocational (“amateur”) paleontologist who has done very respectable work. Chris is a software developer in Austin, Texas, specializing in aerospace systems design, simulation, and testing. He was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and grew up in Hamburg, Germany, and London, England. He majored in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Aberdeen. While studying at the University of Aberdeen, Chris took a course in geology and he credits that experience with setting him off on a lifelong path of discovery and passion for fossils. In particular, he has devoted a large part of the last two decades (totaling more than 1,000 collecting trips) to exploring and (re)discovering the Eocene of Texas. In recognition of his work, Chris Garvie was the 2008 recipient of PRI’s Katherine Palmer Award, presented annually to a non-professional paleontologist in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science.

*See 10/21/09 - Aviculopecten lautus variety ithacensis for more general information about scallops.

**See 10/14/09 - Atrypa aperanta Crickmay for a definition of paratype specimens.

Text by Paula Mikkelsen

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Evolution of Charles Darwin

There was a great segment this past Sunday on CBS's Sunday Morning about the movie Creation based on the life of Charles Darwin. If you missed the segment check it out here:

CBS Sunday Morning

26 Days until:
Darwin Days Banner

Learn more about PRI's Darwin Days celebration at www.ithacadarwindays.org

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ithaca's Darwin Days 2010


Darwin Days Banner

We would like to invite you to celebrate Charles Darwin’s Birthday (February 12) during our week long celebration of his work and his ideas. This year we have themed our events around biodiversity as 2010 was declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the General Assembly of the United Nations. We'll be hosting a series of panel discussions, lectures, a day of family fun, and an evening birthday party. Check out our schedule below!

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, February 9
PANEL DISCUSSION: “Evolution and Biodiversity on Land”
at 5 pm in CU’s G10 Biotech

Wednesday, February 10
PANEL DISCUSSION: “Evolution and Biodiversity in the Sea”
at 5 pm in CU’s G10 Biotech

Friday, February 12
LECTURE: “Evolution and Biodiversity” with Dr. Douglas Erwin, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
at 5 pm in CU’s Lewis Auditorium in Goldwin Smith Hall

RECEPTION: A lively birthday gathering with appetizers, desserts and wine featuring a sneak peek of our upcoming exhibit. 7 pm at Museum of the Earth. Tickets $10. Call 607.273.6623 x11 to purchase or visit us at any of the other Darwin Days events.

Saturday, February 13
FAMILY DAY: Darwin Family Day from 11 am to 3 pm at Museum of the Earth. Take a voyage through the Museum with fun crafts, experiments, and presentations along the way! Included with Museum admission. Free for members.

LECTURE: “
The Arms Race at a Snail's Pace: Coevolution Between Predator and Prey in the Fossil Record” with Dr. Greg Dietl, PRI's Director of Collections at noon in the Museum of the Earth’s classroom. Included with Museum admission. Free for members.

Learn more about Darwin Days at www.ithacadarwindays.org

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fossil of the Week

1/14/10 – Half shell on the Half Shell

Fossils are not always perfect, and here is a good example. This is a syntype* of a freshwater clam, named Anodonta cornelliana by Carlotta Maury in Bulletins of American Paleontology no. 15 in June 1902. It is Oligocene in age (approximately 30 million years old), from Chalk Hills, near Rosefield in northeastern Louisiana, and was named in honor of Cornell University.

The specimen: This specimen is the posterior half of one of the two valves of the clam – in other words, it’s only one quarter of the bivalve. It is furthermore a cast**; all of the original shell is long gone. The pointed end at the bottom is the real posterior end of the clam. The wide end at the top is the broken edge. Other specimens (in this case, other syntypes – Maury illustrated four in her paper) were needed for the author to describe the rest of the mollusk. This done, she estimated that the intact shell would have been 3 inches long by a little over 1 inch in height. It was originally thin shelled, with a sharp carina or ridge from the beak (umbo) to the posterior point. That ridge shows clearly on this specimen as the elevated ridge down the mid-line of the shell.

The scientist: Carlotta Joaquina Maury (1874-1938) specialized in Tertiary mollusks. She was born into a family with significant scientific interests and accomplishments (her older sister Antonia was a Harvard astronomer). Maury attended Cornell University, where despite academic programs designed to prepare women for occupations considered suitable for them, and the prejudice of male faculty, she obtained a PhD under Gilbert Harris (who would found PRI in 1932). When she was not promoted at Barnard College (a women’s liberal arts college in New York City), she accepted a position at a college in South Africa. Expeditions there, in New York, Louisiana, Trinidad, and one that she personally led to Santo Domingo gave her ample material for scientific publications. The paper in which this species was described – “A Comparison of the Oligocene of Western Europe and the Southern United States” – was the published version of Maury’s Ph.D. dissertation.

*See Fossil of the Week 11/11/09 - Bellerophon calcifer for a definition of "syntype."

**See Fossil of the Week 12/30/09 – Fossil Cast for a description of how casts are formed.

Text by Paula Mikkelsen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Seismology at the Museum of the Earth

A photo of seismic readings from our station at PRI.


An earthquake is an event that releases enormous amounts of energy that travel through the Earth in the form of seismic waves. There are two main types of waves: body waves and surface waves. Body waves travel through the Earth while surface waves travel along the surface of the Earth. Since body waves have to ability to travel through the Earth, they can be picked at numerous locations by special sensors called seismometers. PRI has seismometers located on a concrete pier in our Seismology Room. The motion created by Earth’s waves moves a magnet over a coil. As the magnet moves back and forth over the coil, the coil generates a voltage. Each time the magnet swings one direction and then reverses, the voltage reverses. The voltage pattern created is sent to the seismograph as an electrical signal. The signal causes a pen to move back and forth on a rotating drum covered with paper. The resulting image mimics the same pattern as the waves sensed by the seismometer. This signal is also recorded digitally and can be viewed online at: http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/LCSN/WebSeis/24hr_heli.pl

We are able to track earthquakes in real time. Yesterday evening (Tuesday, January 13th), there was a magnitude 7.0 (on the Richter Scale) earthquake that struck Haiti. This particular earthquake was more devastating than many others of similar magnitude, in part because the quake originated close to surface. Like the devastating 7.9 earthquake of China in May 2008, the destruction was magnified by the lack of buildings engineered to withstand shaking. Though it will take many days to sort through the devastation, estimates put the death toll upwards of 100,000 people.

Learn more about earthquakes and how we measure them by visiting the Museum of the Earth.

Friday, January 8, 2010

This Weekend @ MOTE


Fossil Identification Day at Museum of the Earth

January 9, 2010

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Staff paleontologists at the Museum of the Earth and the Paleontological Research Institution help you identify your most puzzling find, from brachiopods to trilobites to funny-looking rocks.

For more information about the Museum of the Earth at PRI please visit our website: www.museumoftheearth.org. Fossil identification is included with your

admission to the museum. Fossil Identification Day at Museum of the Earth is sponsored by CFCU.



Natural History at Noon Lecture Series

January 9, 2010

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Sea Monsters of the Sundance Sea, Wyoming

Dr. Judy Massare, Professor, SUNY Brockport

During the Jurassic Period, the Sundance Sea covered the land to the east of the northern Rocky Mountains. Large carnivorous reptiles, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and pliosaurs, inhabited the shallow sea, along with their squid-like prey. This presentation will highlight some of the recent discoveries from central Wyoming that have yielded new information on ocean life during the Age of Dinosaurs.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fossil of the Week


Brachiopods*, or “lampshells,” are very diverse in the fossil record. This one is an “articulated” species (like most of the 500 species of living – and the 12,000 species of fossil – brachiopods), which means that its two valves are connected by an articulating, toothed hinge. [The other major group is the inarticulate brachiopods, which also have two valves, but lack the hinge – their valves are held together only by muscles.] This one is the holotype** of Stringocephalus axius Crickmay*, 1954 (PRI 26997), from the Middle Devonian, Elk Point (‘Ramparts’) Formation, near Redfern Lake, British Columbia, Canada. You are looking at the side of the two unequal valves – one at the top, the other (broken) at the bottom – with what was the hinge between them at the left. Notice that this specimen is quite large: the top valve is almost 9 inches long!

The Devonian Period (416-359 million years ago) was really the hay-day for Brachiopoda in terms of diversity or “species richness.” Sea levels in the Devonian were generally high. Marine faunas were dominated by bryozoans, brachiopods, crinoids, and corals. Trilobites were common. The great diversity of fish – armored placoderms, early cartilaginous fish, and bony fish – has led to the name "The Age of Fishes" for the Devonian Period. Brachiopods were severely affected by two mass extinctions – one at the end of the Devonian, then the “great one” at the end of the Permian that forced 96% of all marine species into extinction. Still, the only genus of sea life considered common after the Permian extinction was a brachiopod – an inarticulate form called Ligula that still survives today. In modern seas, the superficially similar bivalved mollusks have largely taken over the “niches” formerly occupied by brachiopods. Most of today’s living brachiopods prefer deep-water habitats or otherwise protected places not impacted by strong waves and currents.

*See Fossil of the week 10/14/09 - Atrypa aperanta Crickmay for more information about brachiopods and about the author of this species, Colin Crickmay.

**See Fossil of the Week 8/19/09 - Cerithium gainesensis for a definition of "holotype."

Text by Paula Mikkelsen

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sea Monsters at the Museum of the Earth


Join Dr. Judy Massare this Saturday for a very exciting Natural History at Noon presentation at the Museum of the Earth!

SEA MONSTERS of the SUNDANCE SEA, WYOMING

During the Jurassic Period, the Sundance Sea covered the land to the east of the northern Rocky Mountains. Large carnivorous reptiles, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and pliosaurs, inhabited the shallow sea, along with their squid-like prey. This presentation will highlight some of the recent discoveries from central Wyoming that have yielded new information on ocean life during the Age of Dinosaurs.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 The Year in Evolution

As we embrace a new year and a new decade I thought, and as it turns out so did the folks at The National Center for Science Education, that we should take a look back at this past year in evolution.

February 12, 2009 marked the 200th birthday of Sir Charles Darwin, and the year ended with the November 24th commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work -- On the Origin of Species. Which really helped to book end what was a great year for evolution!

2009 marked the release of the motion picture Creation starring Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly as Emma Darwin. The movie is a partly biographical, partly fictionalized account of Charles Darwin's relationship with his eldest daughter, Annie, as he struggles to write On the Origin of Species. Alas, if you lived in the United States - outside of a few film festivals - you won't see the movie until it is released on DVD. The producers of the film were unable to secure a North American distributor. (Many believe that it was due to a promise of boycott by some religious groups in the U.S..)

As always PRI and its Museum of the Earth, through its collaboration with Cornell University, celebrated Darwin and his legacy with our annual Ithaca's Darwin Days. This week long celebration included talks by such distinguished guests as Massimo Pigliucci from Stony Brook University and former President of Cornell University Dr. Frank Rhodes, along with interesting and engaging panels on everything from race and evolution to teaching evolution in our schools. (Stay tuned for information about Ithaca's Darwin Days 2010!)

To find out what made The National Center for Science Educations Top 10 List click here: Top 10

Happy New Year from all of us here at PRI and its Museum of the Earth!