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Extreme Life!

Extreme Life! Darwin Days 2018

Dates: February 11-17, 2018

Celebrate the wild world of evolution through our annual celebration of the life and ideas of Charles Darwin. Cornell University and the Paleontological Research Institution are sponsoring this exploration of "extreme life." Discover how life is able to thrive in Earth’s extreme environments and learn how life might evolve on other planets. Visit www.priweb.org/DarwinDays for a full schedule of events.

Extreme Double Feature: Cosmos and Life in Hell

Date: Sunday, February 11th

Time: 2:00pm

Location: Cinemapolis

Featuring "Some of the Things Molecules Do" and "Survivors of Heat"

Join Neil deGrasse Tyson on a voyage to discover the relatedness of all living things on Earth, and the possible evolution of life in the cosmos, as you retrace the story of life on Earth and discover the workings of artificial and natural selection. Then, journey into the world of extremophiles - organisms that thrive in extreme conditions - and visit the life that exists in the hottest places on Earth, from the Sahara's sands to deep-sea volcanoes and boiling hot springs. Admission is free for this special showing.

Panel Discussion

Date: Monday, February 12th

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: The History Center in Tompkins County

Evolution at Extremes: Exploring Life at the Limits

Dr. Lisa Kaltenegger, Director, Carl Sagan Institute
Dr. Lou Derry, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell
Dr. Tory Hendry, Dept. of Microbiology at Cornell
Dr. Ilana Lauren Brito, Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell

Science Cabaret

Date: Tuesday, February 13th

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Sciencenter

Mighty Microbes: Methanogens, the Tree of Life, and the Carbon Cycle

Steve Zinder, Professor in Microbiology at Cornell University

In Earth's distant past, methanogens ruled the world! Delve into the world of microbes and anaerobes, organisms that live without air. The discovery of methanogens, anaerobes that produce methane gas, led to a new understanding of evolutionary history on Earth. In this exciting presentation, we'll explore the role of these mighty microbes in the carbon cycle, learn the secrets of their discovery, and find out how they helped us revise the tree of life.

Darwin’s Trivia Challenge

Date: Thursday, February 15th

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: The Rhine House, 632 W Seneca St, Ithaca

Maximum 6 Players Per Team

Keynote Presentation by Dr. Phoebe Cohen

Date: Friday, February 16th

Time: 6:00 pm

Location: Cornell, McGraw Hall, Room 165

Evolution of Life Before Animals: Gasping for Breath and Dodging Snowballs

Phoebe Cohen, Assistant Professor in Geosciences at Williams College

Complex life, including animals, evolved against a backdrop of extreme conditions including scarce oxygen, toxic hydrogen sulfide, and millions of years of global glaciation. In this talk, we will learn how life went through major transitions leading up to the rise of animals, and how extreme conditions may have actually spurred on evolutionary innovation.

Life at the Extremes - Darwin Family Day

Date: Saturday, February 17th

Time: 10 am - 3 pm

Location: Museum of the Earth

How does life not only adapt to difficult stresses, but thrive? The Museum of the Earth welcomes you to learn about extreme life at Darwin Family Day. Come listen to Cornell astronomy researchers, hear stories, make stuff, meet Team Microbe, and discover some organisms that live on the extremes.

Storytime: "Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes"

Date: Saturday, February 17th

Time: 11:00 – 12:00

Location: Museum of the Earth

Take a closer look at microbes. Examine the different kinds of microorganisms we interact with every day. Observe microbes through a microscope and their interaction with everyday objects. Get hands on with a “tiny” science experiment and make your own microbe to take home.

Presentation: “How life on Earth changes how we search for life on other planets”

Date: Saturday, February 17th

Time: 1 pm

Location: Museum of the Earth

Jack Madden, PhD Student, in Cornell University's Department of Astronomy

Jack has been working with Dr. Lisa Kaltenegger on exoplanet habitability at Cornell since 2014. His work involves modeling atmospheres and identifying the biggest factors that influence the conditions possible for life on planets outside our solar system.

- TEAM MICROBE from Cornell: Learn about the microbial world and see for yourself the interesting life of microscopic creatures.
- Adaptations station: what kind of adaptations are needed to live in the harsh environment of a desert?
- Tardigrade viewing: See and learn about these strange creatures that can survive in extremes environments.
- and Face Painting!

For more information about the Discovery Trail: