Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. Carl Safina, March 19 and 23, 2018

The Della Pietra Lecture Series is pleased to present Dr. Carl Safina, Author, Conservationist and Endowed Professor

Title: Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

General Public Lecture, Monday, March 19, 2018: 5:30 pm, Simons Center Della Pietra Family Auditorium (Reception at 5:00pm)

Special Presentation for High School Students, Friday, March 23, 2018: 11:00 am, Simons Center Della Pietra Family Auditorium

Abstract:  Does my dog really love me? Consciousness, self-awareness, empathy, non-verbal communication, imitation, teaching, grief—. Carl Safina shows that in some surprising ways many non-human minds are rather similar to ours. They know who their friends are. They know who their enemies are. They seek status. Their lives may follow the arc of a career. Relationships define them, as relationships define us. Do animals have thoughts and emotions? Yes, because, after all, humans are animals. Is understanding these things enough to keep the other animals in the world? Carl Safina spent time working with researchers who’ve spent decades studying particular families of wild elephants, wolves, and killer whales. He got to know these free-living creatures as individuals, along with their children and grandchildren. In this talk he tells us of amazing strategies and judgment calls these actual wild creatures have made to ensure their families’ survival in times of crisis. Safina will explore up-to-date brain studies showing astonishing new discoveries about the similarities in our consciousness, self-awareness, empathy, non-verbal communication, and the capacity for grief among non-human beings.

Conservationist and writer Carl Safina visiting a walrus colony on Amsterdamøya, Albert I Land, northwest coast of Svalbard. Dr. Safina was invited to sail with Greenpeace to bear witness to the changing climate in the Arctic and the impacts of industrial fishing on the marine environment.

Carl Safina’s writing about the living world has won a MacArthur “genius” prize, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships; book awards from Lannan, Orion, and the National Academies; and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals.

His seabird studies earned a PhD in ecology from Rutgers; he then spent a decade working to ban high-seas drift nets and to overhaul U.S. fishing policy. These days his focus is writing and speaking. Safina is now the first Endowed Professor for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University (where he formerly co-chaired the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science), and he runs the not-for-profit Safina Center. He hosted the PBS series Saving the Ocean. His writing appears in The New York Times, TIME, Audubon, and on the Web at National Geographic News and Views, Huffington Post,, and elsewhere. He is author of the classic book, Song for the Blue Ocean. Carl’s seventh book is Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel. He lives on Long Island, New York with his wife Patricia and their dogs and feathered friends.

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All of these lectures have been made possible by a generous donation from the Della Pietra family. The Della Pietra Lecture Series aims to bring world-renowned scientists to the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics to enhance the intellectual activity of the Center and also bring greater awareness of recent and impactful discoveries in Physics and Mathematics to the Long Island community.

For more information visit our website or call 631-632-2800.