The Museum’s Role in Early Learning and Media Production - A talk by Dr. Scott Sampson of "Dinosaur Train"

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 7:00pm
Event Location: 
Iowa Children's Museum
Coral Ridge Mall
Iowa City, IA 52241
Dr. Scott Sampson


As the keynote public lecture of the Obermann Summer Seminar, Dr. Scott Sampson of the television program Dinosaur Train will talk about the role of the museum in early learning and media production.  Sampson is a Canadian dinosaur paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and educator who serves as Research Curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History, University of Utah. After receiving his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Toronto in 1993, he spent a year working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, followed by five years as assistant professor of anatomy at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine on Long Island.

From 1999-2007, he held a dual position with the Utah Museum of Natural History and the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah, serving for the last several years of that period as chief curator and associate professor, respectively. His research has focused on the ecology and evolution of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, and he has conducted fieldwork in a number of countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. His current research efforts are focused on a large-scale project in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah, which has yielded abundant remains of a previously unknown assemblage of dinosaurs. Sampson has published numerous scientific and popular articles, and has lectured extensively to audiences of all ages on dinosaurs and evolution.

In 2007, Sampson moved to the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where he now lives with his wife and daughter. In addition to continuing dinosaur research through the University of Utah, he is now pursuing a range of new projects focused on education. Sampson was the primary scientific consultant and on-air host of the four-part Discovery Channel series Dinosaur Planet. Appearing as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” he is presently serving the same pair of roles for the PBS children’s series Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company. He recently completed a book, Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life (University of California Press, 2009), the first comprehensive review of dinosaur paleontology for a general audience in more than two decades. Sampson is now at work on another general audience book, this one addressing the Epic of Evolution, the grand saga of cosmos, life, and culture that extends from the Big Bang to the present day.