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In Nature of Things 2013: The Science of Being Human we explored a topic that probes profound questions and elicits endless fascination – what makes us human? Many joined us for the Museum's signature lecture series to investigate the latest scientific research on what is unique to humanity, how we became human, and what we share with other living creatures.
Over the course of four lectures, we heard from a renowned neuroscientist studying how our brains construct reality, a member of a paleoanthropology dynasty piecing together the puzzle of human origins, a microbiologist developing a startling new picture of our intimate relationship with microbes, and an evolutionary anthropologist who looks to animals to find out how we became human.
"Redefining Human: How Microbes Influence Who We Are"
Lecture by June Round
Humans are home to vast consortium of bacteria that outnumber our own cells by a factor of ten. Listen to Dr. June Round's lecture for a discussion of who these organisms are and where they live on your body, what developmental and disease processes they influence, and how scientists are trying to utilize these organisms to treat various ailments.
Click Here for YouTube Video of Dr. June Round (introduction, lecture and discussion)
"A Journey of the Mind: Asking Animals How We Became Human"
Lecture by Brian Hare
The only way to understand what it is to be human is to know what it is like to be not human. Evolutionary anthropologist Dr. Brian Hare shared research comparing the human mind to that of the bonobo and chimpanzee, as well as the minds of our more distant relatives, like the dog.
Listen to Dr. Brian Hare's lecture on a journey exploring the evolution of the human mind that will take you from the dense tropical forests of the Congo Basin to the steppes of Siberia.
"Secrets in the Sands: Revelations into How We Became Human"
Lecture by Louise Leakey
The question of human origins touches the deepest roots of our curiosity. Over six decades and three generations, the Leakey family has been piecing together the puzzle of our earliest history in Africa.
In Louise Leakey's lecture, she explored the human journey over the past four million years.
"Knowing Thyself: What it Means to be a Human with a Brain"
Keynote Lecture by David Eagleman, Ph.D
Nature of Things Founding Underwriter: R. Harold Burton Foundation
Presenting Partner: JPMorgan Chase
Gold Sponsor: Rio Tinto | Kennecott Utah Copper
Silver Sponsor: Clark Foundation
Bronze Sponsor: Myriad Genetics
Media Partner: KCPW -- All lectures broadcasted live at KCPW 88.3FM
In-Kind Sponsors: Liberty Heights Fresh, Pinon Market & Cafe
Additional support from Kingsbury Hall, The City Library and the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks Fund