Monday March 9, 2020
Thumbprints of the Midas Touch: What Shipwrecked Gold reveals about Spanish Colonialism
Charlotte Williams, University of Pennsylvania

Under Spanish Colonial rule, gold and silver in the Americas was not only mined, but also melted from original pieces produced by artisans of indigenous groups, erasing objects from cultural identities. This talk focuses on efforts to recover features of those objects that became bars and ingots, from metallurgical analysis to archive research.


Monday February 10, 2020
Historical Influenza and Viral Evolution
Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, Penn Medicine

Influenza infection of humans has occurred throughout history. The virus is constantly changing and evolving, which is why we need a new vaccine every year. But what about pandemic strains? They happen when genetic re-assortment generates a new virus. Such an event occurred in 1918, when an estimated 50 million people worldwide were killed by an unusual flu, one that frighteningly devastated otherwise healthy 20- 30 year-olds. Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, PhD is out to find out why- hypothesizing that that generation’s immune systems were primed with a distinct influenza subtype during their 1890’s childhood, one that left them ill-equipped to fight this new strain decades later.  But it is unknown what strains were circulating in the 1890s. 


Monday January 13, 2020
Launching Space Camp
Emily A. Margolis, PhD. American Philosophical Society

Calling all space cadets! Since 1982, Space Camp has been the ultimate vacation for aspiring astronauts. Join historian Emily A. Margolis to learn how a little satellite launched on January 31, 1958 set in motion a series of events that lead to the creation of Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Flight suits not required for this historical study of Alabama’s top tourist attraction.