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October 18, 2012: Writers Workshop with Steve Berry

[cid:[log in to unmask]]Steve Berry, the New York Times bestselling author and founder of the History Matters Foundation<> is presenting his highly-acclaimed day-long workshop as a fundraiser on behalf of the Smithsonian Libraries. The workshop will take place in the Executive Conference Room of the National Museum of Natural History on Thursday, October 18, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., followed by an exclusive rare books tour and reception that evening. For more information and to register, visit:

November 6, 2012: Catesby Commemorative Trust Lectures

[cid:[log in to unmask]]Join us for the Catesby Tercentennial Symposium, a once-in-300 years event as top scholars from across the globe gather to celebrate the natural historian and artist Mark Catesby. Explore Catesby’s world and discover how he introduced the wild beauty of North America to the eyes of Europe and went on to influence artists such as Bartram and Audubon. The symposium will take place in the Baird Auditorium of the National Museum of Natural History on Tuesday, November 6, from 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The event is FREE and open to the public. Feel free to come to one or all of the lectures. For a schedule of events, visit: For inquiries: 202.633.1699 or [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.

November 28, 2012: The Romance of Engineering: Science and Late 19th Century Literature, featuring Rosalind Williams (19th Annual Dibner Lecture)

[cid:[log in to unmask]]Jules Verne (1828-1905), William Morris (1834-1896), and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) were all well-known writers of romance in the late l9th century.  They were also fascinated by engineering, both as well-informed observers and as lay engineers. This talk will describe this convergence of engineering and romance in their lives and times and reflect upon its implications for our own lives and times. This event will take place on Wednesday, November 28 at 5:00 p.m. in the Smithsonian Institution Castle building.

Rosalind Williams is the Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her new book, Human Empire (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2013) surveys the overarching historical event of our time: the rise and triumph of human empire, defined by the dominance of human presence on the planet. The book examines the works and lives of three well-known writers (Jules Verne, William Morris, and Robert Louis Stevenson) to illuminate the event of consciousness at the end of the l9th century, when humans realized that they were close to mapping the entire globe and that the global frontier was closing. Human Empire is about a still unfolding event of consciousness, as grasped by three writers exceptionally successful in conveying its depth and significance.