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National Geographic Explorers and Nobel Laureates Are Featured in Second Season of ‘The Big Idea’ Speaker Series


WASHINGTON — National Geographic Live and the Nobel Prize Series have announced the second year of their partnership on the speaker series “The Big Idea,” featuring Nobel Laureates in conversation with National Geographic explorers. As with last year’s groundbreaking inaugural series, the theme will be exploration. The venue for the three ticketed evening events, part of the National Geographic Live series for 2012, is Grosvenor Auditorium at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“Blue Holes & Dark Energy: Mapping the Unknown,” opens the series on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. Adam Reiss, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics, and National Geographic’s 2011 Explorer of the Year Kenny Broad will discuss the adventure of exploring unknown realms and how their explorations provide clarity both on human origins and the future of the cosmos. Senior Executive Producer of National Geographic Specials John Bredar will moderate.

The second event in the series, “Locust Swarms and Ozone Holes,” on Friday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m., pairs 1996 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Mario Molina with behavioral ecologist Iain Couzin, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Both together and separately, their scientific research is making an impact on public policy. Boyd Matson, leading broadcast journalist for National Geographic and host of National Geographic Weekend radio show, will moderate.

“What Makes a Society Successful: A Look at Human and Chimpanzee Communities,” rounds out the series on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. Roger Myerson, 2007 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, and Jill Pruetz, biological anthropologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, will share insights into information sharing, conflict resolution and social cohesion within human and chimpanzee societies, with an eye toward how each species uses cognition to improve its society. Matson will moderate.

“The pairing of Nobel Laureates and National Geographic explorers is a natural one, driven by both organizations’ appreciation and support for science and exploration. We are excited about the second year of this series and hope that together we can spur enlightening conversations about human achievement and achieve National Geographic’s mission of inspiring people to care about the planet,” said National Geographic Vice President for Public Programs Greg McGruder.

“We are delighted to continue this partnership with the National Geographic Society and ‘The Big Idea’ speaker series. With the unique and inspiring combination of Nobel Laureates and National Geographic explorers, the events broaden knowledge and interest in the Nobel Prize- awarded achievements and their impact on society,” said Camilla Hyltén-Cavallius, CEO for Nobel Media.

Tickets to each event are $20 for National Geographic members and $22 for the general public. Package tickets for the three-part series are $57 for National Geographic members and $63 for the general public. Each event will be followed by a reception at National Geographic headquarters. Tickets are on sale at

About the Nobel Prize Series and Nobel Media

The Nobel Prize Series encompasses broad lecture programs and is managed by Nobel Media AB, the company responsible for managing and developing media rights in connection with the Nobel Prize. Nobel Media aims to spread knowledge and interest in the Nobel Prize-awarded achievements to a global audience, through digital and broadcast media, publishing and events.

Nobel Media®, Nobel Prize® and Nobel Prize Series® are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation.

About National Geographic Live

National Geographic Live is a branded series of events including live concerts, films and dynamic presentations by today’s leading explorers, scientists, filmmakers and photographers, covering a wide range of topics such as exploration and adventure; wildlife and habitat; natural phenomena; and relevant issues such as climate change and energy conservation. Proceeds from speaker series ticket sales help fund future National Geographic initiatives in field research, exploration and education. For more information, visit


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