August 10, 2012 |
On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., creepy critters and butterflies infest the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for the fifth annual Bug Fest. Families can also sample bugs as a culinary treat. The festival marks bug month and the academy's yearlong bicentennial celebration, and its theme is butterflies from around the world. The academy's "Butterflies" permanent tropical garden exhibit will showcase birdwing butterflies from Asia and Australia and the colorful green species Ornithoptera priamus . Roaches also participate, showing their competitive skills during the Roach Race 500, where you can cheer and support your favorite insect runner.
March 23, 2012 |
Like many native Philadelphians, Robert M. Peck has fond memories of childhood visits to Philly's "Dinosaur museum" - the Academy of Natural Sciences. Peck never outgrew his love for the Logan Square repository of millions of specimens of all things animal, mineral, and vegetable. Basically, he never left. After a childhood of visits, academy classes, and volunteering in high school, Peck was hired in 1976 after earning his master's degree in history. Thirty-six years later, Peck, 59, is senior fellow of the academy and curator of art and artifacts, ready to begin a yearlong celebration of the academy's 200th anniversary.
March 21, 2012 |
Deep within the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University - a hushed maze of often dark hallways - are birds collected more than 100 years ago by John James Audubon. Today, the manager of that collection, Nate Rice, is in the jungles of North Vietnam, doing studies that may help solve the puzzle of avian flu. More than half a century ago, water-quality expert Ruth Patrick analyzed single-celled aquatic organisms from the hull of a German U-boat and learned where it had been based.
March 12, 2012 |
It was the time of P.T. Barnum, when people would line up to see a whitewashed elephant or a carefully faked petrified giant. But in 1868, a display in Philadelphia proved that reality could be far stranger than fiction. That year, the Academy of Natural Sciences showed the world its first glimpse of a real dinosaur skeleton - a 15-foot-tall Godzilla pulled from a pit in Haddonfield. The creature threatened to obliterate the traditional picture of the universe. Along with Darwin's theory and a revolution in geology, dinosaur fossils were opening the human imagination to lost worlds on our own planet, separated by vast epochs of time.
March 5, 2012 |
The flying fox, collected on a 1937 expedition to the South Pacific, seems to gaze pensively from inside a jar of alcohol. Jumbled in a box are the bones of an Eskimo dog collected by members of an 1892 Greenland expedition to search for explorer Robert Edwin Peary Sr. Ghostly ratfish, their translucent bodies stained blue, intertwine in their liquid realm. They're all just dead things, really. But in them, Rosamond Purcell has found meaning, artistic expression, and a certain beauty.
February 17, 2012 |
A weekend of fossils is sure to leave an impression during the annual Paleopalooza festival at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. The two-day festival on Saturday and Sunday will feature seldom-seen specimens from the academy and the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society. Guests can become a dinosaur CSI and solve a mystery from millions of years ago, meet a 15-foot-long animatronic T. rex, and also take guided tours of Dinosaur Hall at 10 a.m., noon, 2, and 4 p.m. Visitors can watch paleontological specimens prepared for the unveiling of a new kind of Patagonian dinosaur from Argentina.
February 15, 2012 |
Home to 18 million specimens and a cadre of sober-minded researchers, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a redbrick bastion of science. Yet every few months in a darkened auditorium, the museum stages a public airing of what science is not. Pass the beer and pretzels, please. It's Mega-Bad Movie Night, in which a snarky panel of experts offers a running commentary while showing a really, really bad science-fiction flick. Piranha feeding frenzies.
November 30, 2011 |
At 3:15 p.m., Bridget Clancy's big moment had come. The librarian slipped on white cotton gloves and eased open the glass lid. Underneath was a massive book that is considered one of the great works of American scientific art, John James Audubon's Birds of America . At the moment, the page showed spotted sandpipers. But a new page was about to be revealed. Buckingham Palace has its changing of the guard. On weekdays, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University has its turning of the page.
August 12, 2011 |
You know that unsettling feeling - a slight tickle on your cheek, spindly legs dashing across your toes. Bugs seem a mainstay of the gross and the weird, but walk through the Academy of Natural Sciences this weekend and you'll feel ... beet. Because of all the beetles, that is. The critters are the focus of this weekend's Bug Fest, the fourth annual event hosted by the academy. The two-day event is packed with activities: live beetles of all colors and sizes, bug searches outside, demonstrations on collecting, pinning, and keeping your own specimens.
August 1, 2011 |
Like any good scientist, entomologist Daniel Otte has keen powers of observation. Unlike most, he is highly skilled at rendering those observations with a paintbrush. Otte, a preeminent expert on grasshoppers and crickets, has long been painting insects and other creatures for use in scientific articles and texts. Starting Saturday, 32 of his images are to be displayed as art in a new exhibit at his workplace: the Academy of Natural Sciences. The illustrator-scientist, not one to hog the limelight despite having identified more than 1,500 species in his career, is a bit taken aback by the focus on his paintings.