Darwin Days Schedule of Events

Sunday, February 11th

Extreme Double Feature: "Cosmos" and "Life in Hell"

 2:00 pm - Cinemapolis - FREE!

Featuring "Some of the Things Molecules Do" and "Survivors of Heat"

Join Neil deGrasse Tyson  on a voyage to discover the relatedness of all living things on Earth, and the possible evolution of life in the cosmos, as you retrace the story of life on Earth and discover the workings of artificial and natural selection. Then, journey into the world of extremophiles - organisms that thrive in extreme conditions - and visit the life that exists in the hottest places on Earth, from the Sahara's sands to deep-sea volcanoes and boiling hot springs. Admission is free for this special showing.


Monday, February 12th

Panel Discussion

7:00 pm - The History Center in Tompkins County


  • Dr. Lisa Kaltenegger, Director, Carl Sagan Institute
  • Dr. Lou Derry, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell
  • Dr. Tory Hendry, Dept. of Microbiology at Cornell
  • Dr. Ilana Lauren Brito, Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell


Tuesday, February 13th

Science Cabaret

7:00 pm - Sciencenter

Mighty Microbes: Methanogens, the Tree of Life, and the Carbon Cycle

Steve Zinder, Professor in Microbiology at Cornell University

In Earth's distant past, methanogens ruled the world! Delve into the world of microbes and anaerobes, organisms that live without air. The discovery of methanogens, anaerobes that produce methane gas, led to a new understanding of evolutionary history on Earth. In this exciting presentation, we'll explore the role of these mighty microbes in the carbon cycle, learn the secrets of their discovery, and find out how they helped us revise the tree of life.


Thursday, February 15th

Darwin’s Trivia Challenge

7:00 pm - The Rhine House, 632 W Seneca St, Ithaca

Maximum 6 Players Per Team


Friday, February 16th

Keynote Presentation by Dr. Phoebe Cohen

6:00 pm - Cornell, McGraw Hall, Room 165

Evolution of Life Before Animals: Gasping for Breath and Dodging Snowballs

Phoebe Cohen, Assistant Professor in Geosciences at Williams College

Complex life, including animals, evolved against a backdrop of extreme conditions including scarce oxygen, toxic hydrogen sulfide, and millions of years of global glaciation. In this talk, we will learn how life went through major transitions leading up to the rise of animals, and how extreme conditions may have actually spurred on evolutionary innovation. 


Saturday, February 17th

Life at the Extremes - Darwin Family Day
10 am - 3 pm - Museum of the Earth

How does life not only adapt to difficult stresses, but thrive? The Museum of the Earth welcomes you to learn about extreme life at Darwin Family Day. Come listen to Cornell astronomy researchers, hear stories, make stuff, meet Team Microbe, and discover some organisms that live on the extremes.

Storytime: "Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes"
Time: 11:00 – 12:00
Take a closer look at microbes. Examine the different kinds of microorganisms we interact with every day. Observe microbes through a microscope and their interaction with everyday objects. Get hands on with a “tiny” science experiment and make your own microbe to take home. 

Presentation: “How life on Earth changes how we search for life on other planets
Jack Madden, PhD Student, in Cornell University's Department of Astronomy
Time:  1 pm
Jack has been working with Dr. Lisa Kaltenegger on exoplanet habitability at Cornell since 2014. his work involves modeling atmospheres and identifying the biggest factors that influence the conditions possible for life on planets outside our solar system.


TEAM MICROBE from Cornell: Learn about the microbial world and see for yourself the interesting life of microscopic creatures.
Adaptations station: what kind of adaptations are needed to live in the harsh environment of a desert?
Tardigrade viewing: See and learn about these strange creatures that can survive in extremes environments.
and Face Painting!


Sponsored by Cornell University and the Paleontological Research Institution