From the Red Deer River country of Alberta, Canada, to the Gobi Desert in China, Dr. Philip Currie has hunted dinosaurs. Tuesday, he brings stories of his hunts to Hays as the 13th speaker in Fort Hays State University's Presidential Lecture Series.
In the process, he will help the university's Sternberg Museum of Natural History celebrate completion of the first year in its new home at 3000 Sternberg Drive.
Currie, curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, will speak on "In the Footsteps of the Sternbergs: Hunting dinosaurs in the Badlands of the Red Deer River, Alberta, Canada."
His presentation will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, in the Fort Hays Ballroom of FHSU's Memorial Union. It will be preceded, from 2 to 5 p.m., by a meet-the-author book signing at the Sternberg Museum Store. At least eight and possibly 10 books that Currie has written or co-authored will be available for signing.
After the lecture, Currie will be honored with a reception. Admission to the lecture, book signing and reception are all free.
"Phil is a natural choice for our celebration," said Greg Liggett, assistant director of the Sternberg Museum. "There are many connections between Phil's work at the Royal Tyrrell and the Sternberg."
Liggett noted that the Sternberg family, for whom the museum is named, also collected fossils in Canada, including many years in the badlands of Alberta, which include the Red Deer River country. Two members of the family stayed in Canada, and George F. returned to Kansas and to the institution that became Fort Hays State University and built the foundation collections of the Sternberg Museum.
Another connection, Liggett said, is that the dinosaurs recovered from the badlands of Alberta date from the Late Cretaceous period and are the same as those portrayed in the dioramas at the Sternberg Museum. The great inland sea that covered Kansas and eastern Colorado, and in which lived the animals and plants that are displayed in the Sternberg, also date from the Cretaceous era.
Liggett said Currie will talk about several sites at Dinosaur Provincial Park. One of the Sternberg brothers, Charles M., was involved in the park's formation in the 1950s.
Currie, in addition to his curator position at the Royal Tyrrell, is also an adjunct associate professor at the University of Calgary. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto and his master's and Ph.D. from McGill University. In his career he has published more than 135 articles, given hundreds of presentations and has appeared on radio, television and film and in newspapers and magazines.
He was co-leader of the Canada-China Dinosaur project, one of the largest dinosaur expeditions ever. That expedition recovered many new dinosaur fossils from the Gobi Desert.
The Presidential Lecture Series began in 1987 with the inauguration of Hammond as the eighth president of FHSU. The purpose of the program is to bring to campus professional people to share their knowledge and expertise with students, faculty, staff and friends of the university.
Previous speakers include astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad; William K. Coors, CEO of Adolph Coors Co.; Li Pei Wu, CEO of General Bank of Los Angeles; David Eisenhower, grandson of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower; author Mickey Spillane; and Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, pioneer of open-heart surgery.