Ken Norris Memorial Lecture



2016 Ken Norris Memorial Lecture
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
La Feliz Room
Thursday, October 20, 2016
7-8:30 PM

Understanding Coral Reefs through Marine Science and Woolly Sculptures –– A unique perspective on Corals, Conservation, and Crochet Craftwork

The Panel

Matt McCarthy is a professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Matt studies hidden worlds far below the ocean’s surface, including deep-sea corals that feed on material falling from upper regions of the ocean. These fascinating corals record long-term changes in the open ocean that can’t be seen in other ways.

Margaret Wertheim is an Australian-born science communicator and curator who focuses on the relation between science and the wider cultural landscape. She is one of the founders of the Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles, an organization dedicated to the aesthetic and poetic dimensions of science and mathematics, including the Crochet Coral Reef –– the biggest participatory art/science project in the world.

Curt Storlazzi is a research oceanographer with the US Geological Survey’s Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, leading coral reef studies in the Pacific. His efforts are focused on protecting shallow-water coral reefs from both human- and climate-caused stress.

The Moderator

Michelle Williams is the executive director of the Arts Council Santa Cruz County. Michelle was raised in the arts, studying cello, piano, bass, and voice, earning a BFA in musical theater. She’s worked in theaters and recording studios around the globe. Her career has been fueled by passion for radical partnerships, workplace culture, and harnessing the power of the arts to ignite community.

(Learn how you can participate in a satellite reef crochet project)

The Ken Norris Memorial Lecture is free. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Seating is limited and first-come, first-served.

  • No late seating. (No entry after 7 PM)
  • Doors open to the lecture hall at 6:30 PM
  • Seymour Center opens to the public with lecture passes available at 6 PM

Sponsored by Naomi Kirschenbaum

Join us each fall for this outstanding tradition––thoughtful topics and renowned thinkers in an intimate setting. This annual lecture is named in honor of Ken Norris and his big-picture thinking. Ken was a scientist, naturalist, conservationist, teacher, and a long-time UC Santa Cruz professor of natural history. He was known for his pioneering work with dolphins, helping to author landmark federal legislation protecting marine mammals in the 1970s, establishing the University of California Natural Reserve System, and for being part of the team that founded the Long Marine Lab.

A few examples of topics addressed in past Ken Norris Memorial Lectures:

  • Disturbing Trends — Encouraging Signs: A discussion on troubling trends in our modern ocean — heavy metals, sea star wasting, ocean acidification — and signs of improving health.
  • When Ocean Science is the “Family Business”— A unique perspective on work, family, and the future of our blue planet. Read the Review!
  • “Dr. Ocean” — A Lively Discussion with Three Marine Wildlife Veterinarians. Press Release
  • Renewable Energy from the Ocean: Discussion of public policy and regulatory guidelines, the physical challenges involved in developing the technology to harness energy from the ocean, and understanding its potential impacts on the ocean environment and ocean life.
  • Global Climate Change: A range of perspectives on climate science, the effects of global warming, and policy options.
  • Sustainable Fisheries: Perspectives on the challenges facing fisheries on the West Coast and around the world, including the future of seafood, the politics of fish and the oceans, and the management of West Coast groundfish fisheries.
  • Women in Marine Science: Highlights about extraordinary women in marine science crossing several generations.
  • Perspectives on Ocean Health and Policy: A discussion about our dependence on the oceans for food, jobs, recreation and solace. Ocean currents circulate the energy and water that regulate the earth’s climate and weather and thus affect many aspects of the human experience.

Speakers have included:

  • Barbara Block, Stanford University, Hopkins Marine Station;
    MacArthur Foundation Fellow
  • Dave Casper, Veterinarian, UC Santa Cruz
  • John Laird, California Secretary of Natural Resources; former three-term member of the California Assembly
  • Dan Kammen, Professor of Energy, Public Policy, Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley; Nobel Peace Prize Contributing Lead Author for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences; former Editor of Science; former Director of USGS
  • Melissa Miller, Veterinarian, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Mike Murray, Veterinarian, Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Julie Packard, Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense; Former Director of the CIA; Presidential Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, senior statesmen
  • Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA Administrator, NOAA Chief Scientist; former astronaut

The Norris Lecture is conducted every October/November. Please check our calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Days & Hours

Tuesday - Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM


July 22 - July 30, 2017
For a full week, the Seymour Center will celebrate Shark Science Week by revealing fascinating facts about these cartilaginous fishes. Come explore amazing shark adaptations!

You'll see a lot of construction taking place here at the Coastal Science Campus but know, the Seymour Center is open for business as usual. Come visit!

Thank you to all who participated in our auction this year—it means the oceans! Winning bidders' items are being mailed or ready for pick-up until July 1.

September 23 - October 1, 2017
Save the date for Sea Otter Awareness Week: an annual recognition of the vital role that sea otters play in the nearshore ecosystem.


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