In an age of a seemingly bottomless array of scientific knowledge, it is often more difficult to remember much of Earth and beyond the undiscovered, foreign territory. Last year, in September of 2015, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger humbled the world in how little we know about even our own species. He discovered a new human species, homo naledi.
After Berger’s announcement in South Africa of his discovery, his first stop was at here at Dallas’ Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Berger, among Paul Nicklen, David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes, have all walked the same steps at the Perot Museum as lecturers for the museum’s National Geographic Speaker Series.
“The National Geographic Speaker Series is a project that we started last year,” said Krista Villarreal Moore, Senior Communications and PR Manager for the Perot Museum.
Before the series’ creation “we didn’t really have a series,” explained Moore. “We would bring lecturers in. Many of them were with National Geographic…but we started packaging it and promoting it as a series starting in April 2015.”
As per the name, only National Geographic explorers have graced the Perot auditorium stage, a venue unique in itself.
“You’re not in a 2,000 seat auditorium,” said Moore. With a theater of only 300 seats, “you are very close and personal with these people.”
Each lecture extends into a Q&A session, as well as a book signing. “It’s a much more personal setting than a lot of the lectures that you’ll find,” said Moore.
This personal aspect, in tandem with the acclaim of these speakers, is what draws audiences to these lectures. “There are not many opportunities to see underwater creatures at the darkest depths of the ocean…here in Dallas, so to be able to experience that through these phenomenal photographs is…a unique experience,” said Moore.
April 7 marks the last speaker in this year’s series: Charles Hamilton James. “He has been all over the world,” Moore explained, “but what is comical about his story is that he bought a piece of land adjoining a rainforest in Peru and it accidentally ended up that he had purchased an illegal cocaine factory that was on the property.”
James’ lecture not only will capture his experience and passion for rainforests, but a “tale of what happened next, and how he has been involved not only with global rainforests, but with the U.S. National Park Service,” said Moore.
These lectures are faceted with the intention of providing a unique, otherworldly experience for the Dallas community.
And with explorers who can claim the greatest global discovery of the year, homo naledi, the draw to this series need not be sold. Its draw is in its nature.
Tickets for individual lectures cost $30 for Perot Museum members and $35 for non-members. They can be purchased here.