Age

Location

Perot Museum

Behind every great National Geographic story is a great storyteller.

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Join us as we welcome some of National Geographic’s most prominent and engaging explorers in this season’s National Geographic Speaker Series. Their stories, images, and film clips will fully immerse you in their experiences — from the exhilarating to the arduous. Terry Virts will take you into space to give you a new perspective on our home, the Earth, while Albert Lin takes you back in time to explore the forbidden tomb of Ghengis Khan, and then it's into the wilds of forests and hidden streams with Anand Varma to see some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and fascinating wildlife through the lens of a well-aimed camera.

Each lecture will take place in our intimate theater and you will have a chance to find out exactly what you’d like to know about the work of these amazing explorers through an open Q&A after each talk. You can find more details about each speaker on the menu to the right. Seating for the series is limited, so reserve yours before they’re sold out!


Photo: Ben Horton

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This program is presented in association with National Geographic Live, bringing the National Geographic experience to global audiences, while celebrating the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change our world.

Chasing Ancient Mysteries: Dr. Albert Lin

Research Scientist and Engineer

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National Geographic explorer Albert Lin has pioneered the use of cutting-edge imaging technology — combined with crowdsourcing that harnesses the power of thousands of volunteers — to search for the tomb of Genghis Khan in Mongolia, Maya sites in Guatemala, and the lost Malaysian jetliner. Lin combines digital technology with old fashioned on-the-ground exploration to solve both historical and modern mysteries.


Photo: Erik Jepsen

Hear His Story

Albert's research has taken him into the most remote regions of the world, has led to industry changing innovations, and has expanded the role of media in science. 

The effort he may be best known for, the Valley of the Khans Project, is a high-tech ground, aerial, and satellite based remote sensing non-destructive search

for the tomb of Genghis Khan that was featured in a 1-hour National Geographic documentary film, "the Forbidden Tomb of Genghis Khan", which he also narrated. The goal of this effort, to enable international protection of a sacred region of Mongolia through non-destructive investigation.


Photo: Ben Horton

Accomplishments

  • Featured in the Washington Post, BBC, NPR, ABC news, TEDx, Wired magazine, Gizmodo, al-Jazeera, National Geographic, Newsweek (cover story), and the Harvard Business Review

  • Discoveries featured in the National Geographic documentary film, "The Forbidden Tomb of Genghis Khan", 

  • National Geographic Adventure’s "2010 Readers Choice Adventurer of the Year"

  • Lowell Thomas Medal for Exploration from the renowned New York based Explorers Club

  • Founded and directed UC San Diego, National Geographic Engineers for Exploration Program, the Exploration Lab, and the Distributed Health Labs


Photo: Ben Horton

View From Above: Terry Virts

NASA Astronaut

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Step back, about 220 miles from Earth, as you gain a deeper understanding of our planet’s beauty, climate, and place in the universe from former NASA astronaut and International Space Station Commander, Terry Virts. Become mesmerized as he shares his story along with mind-blowing video and still images from the station’s 360-degree viewing module.

Hear His Story

Sometimes, a little distance is all you need to see things in a brand new way. For Terry Virts, his newfound perspective was from the International Space Station (ISS), where he installed the Cupola module, granting an unprecedented 360-degree view from the station.

When he later became the commander of the ISS, he made good use of the Cupola, taking more photographs than any astronaut who came before him. Many of those images were later used in the National Geographic book View From Above and IMAX film A Beautiful Planet, but to hear Virts tell it, no photo can capture the perfect shade of blue from a sunrise viewed from outer space.

Accomplishments

  • Celebrated NASA astronaut

  • Pilot of the space shuttle, Endeavour 

  • Crew member on the Russiaan Soyuz spacecraft

  • Spent 200 consecutive days in space as commander of the International Space Station - one of the longest continuous space missions of any NASA astronaut

  • Appeared in the 2016 IMAX film, A Beautiful Planet

Beauty and the Bizarre: Anand Varma

Photographer

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When Anand Varma takes a photograph of a parasitic wasp consuming a caterpillar from the inside, he doesn’t want to you to be disgusted. He wants you to be astonished. Varma is a science photographer who works to tell the story behind the science of everything, from primate behavior to amphibian disease and forest ecology. In these truly unique images, he reveals the secret life cycle of the honeybee, captures the lightning-fast behaviors of hummingbirds, and offers a rare glimpse at our world's small wonders.


Photo: Jeanne Modderman

Hear His Story

Varma grew up exploring the streams and wooded lots near his childhood home in Atlanta, Georgia. As a teenager, he picked up his dad’s old camera on a whim and found that he could use it to feed his curiosity about the natural world—and to share his discoveries with others. 

He’s devoted years of his life to perfecting his techniques to create dramatic, bizarre—and beautiful—images of the miniature world around us.

Varma has become a regular contributor to National Geographic as well as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and is known for his approach to photography that is a masterful combination of art and technology. 


Photo: Anand Varma

Accomplishments

  • Assisted David Liittschwager, Christian Ziegler, Joel Sartore, and Tim Laman on 13 articles for National Geographic

  • Awarded a Young Explorer Grant from the National Geographic Society 

  • Photographed two feature stories for National Geographic


Photo: Anand Varma