Benaroya Hall - Photograph by Lara Swimmer
Benaroya Hall - Photograph by Lara Swimmer
To call the National Geographic Live program a lecture series is such an underwhelming understatement I’m reluctant to do it. Yes, incredibly interesting, well traveled and fascinating people stand on a stage and talk about their work and the world accompanied by stunning visuals on a big screen, but the quality of the presentations sets them a notch above similar programs.

Offering “entertaining and visually spectacular presentations by dynamic National Geographic explorers, scientists, photographers, and filmmakers,” this series is not to be missed. The presentations are held in Benaroya Hall. There are five different events with two performances each from January to May, 2010. You can buy a subscription to the whole series or tickets for single events. The following are the speakers for the 2010 season:

January 20th & 21st
Africa Through the Lens with Michael Davie (filmmaker/journalist)
“An Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Zimbabwe-born Michael Davie has immersed himself in the wildness and unpredictability of Africa—from the front lines of war in Liberia, to the battle to save the Congo’s endangered mountain gorillas. In his deeply personal account, Davie works to raise awareness about the courage and humanity he has encountered among the people of this misunderstood continent. In doing so, Davie gives a voice to the Africa we rarely see.”

March 1st & 2nd
An Evening with Jared Diamond (geographer/author)
“In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs and Steel, Diamond aimed to uncover the root causes of Eurasian dominance of the modern world. In his most recent book and upcoming Nat Geo Channel film, Collapse, he addresses exactly the opposite question: What causes great societies to fail? In this riveting presentation, you’ll discover why this renowned thinker and field scientist believes that the big problems the world faces can be solved—if we choose to solve them.”

March 22nd & 23rd
Solo Across the Pacific with Roz Savage (eco-adventurer)
“In 2005, Roz Savage dropped everything and entered the Atlantic Rowing Race as the first solo woman ever to compete in that race. After 103 days of storms and soul-searching, she arrived to an ecstatic welcome in Antigua. Her extreme transformation from office worker to adventurer is the subject of her book Rowing the Atlantic. Savage is now attempting to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific, and is using her voyage to inspire grassroots environmental stewardship.”

April 19th & 20th
Polar Obsession with Paul Nicklen (photographer)
“An emerging star, Paul Nicklen has made a huge imprint in the world of natural history photography by documenting wildlife’s struggle with rapid environmental change. Nicklen takes his audience underwater to see stunning, close-up images of leopard seals, whales, walruses, polar bears, and narwhals; and over the ice to look at caribou and polar bird species. Join us for an evening exploring the breathtaking beauty of the polar regions and the impact of climate change on their fragile ecosystems.”

May 17th & 18th
Exploring Mars with Kobie Boykins (NASA engineer)
“In 2004, NASA captured the world’s imagination with the successful deployment of the Mars Expedition Rovers “Spirit” and “Opportunity.” After completing their missions, something amazing happened: the solar energy-driven ROVs kept on going, working far beyond their 90-day planned life. Kobie Boykins, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, designed and helped build the celebrated solar arrays that power the rovers. Join him for an engaging evening exploring the red planet.”

Community National Geographic Live at Benaroya Hall