Benoit de Maillet

Benoît de Maillet, a French diplomat and geological dreamer, was born Apr. 12, 1656. De Maillet spent much of his life as the French consul to Egypt, but he thought a lot about the earth and its origin, and before he died, he wrote a romance in which an Indian...

The Science of Apollo

Best-selling author and space historian Andrew Chaikin and a panel of experts, including Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, discuss the science of Project Apollo and the benefits to society of future planetary exploration.

We have reached our seating capacity for this event and we have also closed the wait list. 

If you are unable to attend the lecture in person, you can watch a live broadcast from the Library’s Facebook page or via

John Clerk of Eldin

John Clerk of Eldin, a Scottish scholar and artist, was born Dec. 10, 1728. Clerk in his own day was best known as the author of the first modern English book on naval strategy, Naval Tactics, 1790, which was supposedly used by Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar....

John Woodward

John Woodward, an English geologist and fossil collector, was born May 1, 1665. Woodward was an early believer in the organic origin of fossils (first proposed by Steno and Hooke around 1668), but he was initially at a loss to explain how fossils became embedded in the earth’s crust, if they were the remains of living animals on the surface. And then he got his Big Idea. What if, during the Great Flood of Noah, God had miraculously suspended gravity (by which Woodward meant not Newtonian gravity, but the force of cohesion that holds things together)? As the earth’s rocks dissolved into thick pudding, all the drowned animals and planets would sink down until their density was equaled by that of the surrounding muck. When gravity returned, the rocks would cohere again, with the animals remains now imprisoned as fossils within. It was actually a clever idea, except for the density part, which would suggest that the top layers of rock should contain all the jellyfish and the bottom layers all the turtles…