The spring 2018 lecture series began in March. Registration is requested. All programs start at 7 p.m. in the Aquarium’s Simons IMAX® Theatre unless otherwise noted. Programs last approximately one hour. Most lectures are recorded and available for viewing on the lecture series archive page.

Call 617-973-6596 with questions about our lectures, RSVPing, or for more information.

Paul Greenberg, Spring 2018 lecture series

The Omega Principle: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and a Healthier Planet

Thursday, July 19

Paul Greenberg, James Beard Award-winning author

This lecture is co-hosted by the University of Massachusetts Boston School for the Environment.

Omega-3 fatty acids have long been celebrated by doctors and dieticians as key to a healthy heart and a sharper brain. In the last few decades, that promise has been encapsulated in one of America’s most popular dietary supplements. Today, omega-3s are a multibillion-dollar business, and sales are still growing apace, even as recent medical studies caution that the promise of omega-3s may not be what it first appeared.

But a closer look at the omega-3 sensation reveals something much deeper and more troubling. The miracle pill is only the latest product of the reduction industry, a vast, global endeavor that over the last century has boiled down trillions of pounds of marine life into animal feed, fertilizer, margarine, and dietary supplements. The creatures that are the victims of that industry seem insignificant to the untrained eye, but turn out to be essential to the survival of whales, penguins, and fish of all kinds, including many that we love to eat.

Behind these tiny molecules is a big story: of the push and pull of science and business, of the fate of our oceans in a human-dominated age, of the explosion of land food at the expense of healthier and more sustainable seafood, and of the human quest for health and long life at all costs.

James Beard Award-winning author Paul Greenberg probes the rich and surprising history of omega-3s, from the dawn of complex life, when these compounds were first formed; to human prehistory, when the discovery of seafood may have produced major cognitive leaps for our species; and on to the modern era, when omega-3s may point the way to a bold new direction for our food system.

Paul will sign copies of his new book, The Omega Principle, in the Simons IMAX® Theatre lobby directly following his presentation.

Roger Gentry, lecture

Up Close with the Northern Fur Seal

Thursday, September 13

Roger L. Gentry, Ph.D., Director, ProScience Consulting, LLC

In 1974, Roger Gentry started gathering detailed information about the lives of the individual fur seals on land and at sea. This talk focuses on the social behavior of this species as seen from observation blinds, some laboratory experiments using captive adults to study their mating system, and pioneering work on their diving behavior at sea. The first-ever Time-Depth Recorders, invented by Gentry’s colleague Jerry Kooyman, will be shown.

These programs are made possible due to the generous support of the Lowell Institute. Founded in 1836 with a mission to inform the populace regardless of gender, race, or economic status, the Lowell Institute has reached thousands of Boston-area residents by sponsoring free public lectures and other educational programs.
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