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Behind every great National Geographic story is a great storyteller.

From discovering a rare new species, to mountaineering a hidden peak in Myanmar, our 2017 speaker series has it all!

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With only 300 people in attendance at each lecture, the Perot Museum speaker series is by far the most intimate public lecture event you will ever attend. Every lecture includes a Q&A session which gives you the opportunity to interact with these incredible adventurers, providing a great way to remember this unique National Geographic Live event for life.

Tickets on sale October 14

The 2017 lineup includes primatologist, explorer and wildlife correspondent Mireya Mayor, mountaineer and expedition leader Hilaree O'Neill, and aquatic biologist Zeb Hogan.

The speaker series, presented by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., is in partnership with National Geographic Live, bringing the National Geographic experience to global audiences while celebrating the power of science, exploration and storytelling.

I Bought a Rainforest:
Charlie Hamilton James


Photo: Charlie Hamilton James

Discover what it’s like to live in—not just visit—two of the world’s great wildlife parks. Charlie Hamilton James has been shooting in Peru’s Manu National Park—the most bio-diverse place on Earth—for more than two decades.

Join this critically acclaimed photojournalist as he recounts his unlikely journey from the Peruvian rainforest to the mountain landscapes of Yellowstone—plus a sneak peek at his latest project, inside Tanzania’s Serengeti.

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Photo courtesy National Geographic Live!

Fiercely motivated to protect the rainforest and its inhabitants, Charlie Hamilton James bought a piece of land adjoining the park—only to discover that he had purchased an illegal cocaine factory along with it. His misadventures as an Amazonian landowner were documented in the BBC Television series, I Bought a Rainforest. More recently, Charlie has been living in Yellowstone, America’s original wildlife park, for the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service.

For a forthcoming National Geographic story, he has gone beyond the park’s boundaries, creating a portrait of the larger ecosystem that Yellowstone supports.

“I am constantly staggered and inspired by nature, both in its design and beauty; it's led to a lifelong obsession to understand, document and save it.”

— Charlie Hamilton James

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Photo: Charlie Hamilton James

Coral Kingdoms and Empires of Ice:
Exploring Secret Underwater Worlds
with David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes 


Photo: David Doubilet

Duo David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes, partners in life and under the sea, have produced some of the world’s most stunning images below and above land. Join them to explore the rich and diverse waters of Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, part of the “coral triangle.”

Follow them into the world beneath the Antarctic ice, then north to the Gulf of St. Lawrence to see whales, wolfish and harp seals. Together, they’ll go beyond the published stories to share the reality of “behind-the-camera" adventures.

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Photo: Kelly Stremmel

David Doubilet has a long and intimate vision into the sea. He began snorkeling at age 8 at summer camp in the Adirondack and by age 12 he was making pictures underwater using a Brownie Hawkeye camera stuffed into a rubber anesthesiologist bag. David has long since mastered the techniques of working with water and light to become one of the world’s most celebrated underwater photographers and a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine, where he has published nearly 70 stories since his first assignment in 1971.

Jennifer Hayes is an aquatic biologist and photojournalist specializing in natural history and marine environments. Jen Hayes and David Doubilet collaborate as a photographic team above and below water on project development, story production, feature articles and books. Jennifer is the editor and author of numerous articles on marine environments, with images appearing in countless books, advertising campaigns and publications.

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Photo: Jennifer Hayes


Photo: David Doubilet

An adventure into our shared past:
Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger


Lee Berger. Photo: Robert Clark

In his first public speaking appearance since the discovery, paleoanthropologist and explorer Lee Berger recounts the excavation of a new species of human relative Homo naledi.

Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, The Discovery of Homo naledi Lecture

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As part of the question and answer portion of this lecture the audience had the opportunity to ask questions of three female scientists that went into the cave to recover the H. naledi fossils. Marina Elliott, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, Hannah Morris a PhD student at the University of Georgia in the Integrative Conservation Program through the Warnell School of Forestry and Becca Peixotto, an archaeologist and PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at American University, answered questions about being part of the unique expedition into very narrow caves and the groundbreaking discovery. 

The new species, H. naledi, sheds light on the origins and diversity of the human genus. According to the research published in the journal eLife, H. naledi also appears to have intentionally deposited bodies of its dead in a remote cave chamber, a behavior previously thought limited to humans. The discovery covers the October edition of National Geographic Magazine and you can learn more information on the National Geographic website

The September 29 lecture will be Berger's first public appearance after the groundbreaking announcement


Photo: Robert Clark

Berger is an award-winning researcher, explorer, author, palaeoanthropologist and speaker. He is the recipient of the National Geographic Society’s first Prize for Research and Exploration and the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award.    His work has brought him recognition as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and the South African Academy of Sciences and prominent advisory positions including the Chairmanship of the Fulbright Commission of South Africa, the Senior Advisory Board of the Global Young Academy and the Centre of Excellence in PalaeoSciences of South Africa among many others.


Photo: Elliot Ross

Meet this brilliant explorer and hear about his research in an intimate environment unequaled by any other lecture forum. There will also be a question and answer and book signing with Dr. Berger. 

Homo naledi in the headlines

National Geographic CNN eLife Sciences NBC News NBC Neews

See local coverage of Dr. Berger's lecture at the Perot Museum

Polar Obsession: Photographer Paul Nicklen


Photo: Paul Nicklen

Paul Nicklen has spent a lifetime honing the skills needed to photograph wildlife in the world’s most remote places, shooting stunning and intimate images of arctic creatures most never encounter in their lifetime.

Through his passion, talent and humor, Nicklen shares a personal perspective on the fragile and frozen environments in some of the iciest corners of the world.

“It just takes one image to get someone’s attention.”

— Paul Nicklen

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Paul Nicklen on the TED stage

Upcoming Dates/Times

About the 2017 Series

Past Events

I Bought a Rainforest: Charlie Hamilton James
Apr 07, 2016 - Apr 07, 2016
Coral Kingdoms and Empires of Ice: Photographers David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes
Feb 04, 2016 - Feb 04, 2016
Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 29, 2015
Polar Obsession: Photographer Paul Nicklen
May 07, 2015 - May 07, 2015