COVID & The World Interview with Jesse Ausubel

The website Human Progress launches a new video series called The Covid Tonic. The series features conversations between renowned scholars and editor, Marian L. Tupy. The interviews focus on the global impact of COVID-19 and the continued importance of rational optimism. Episode 1 features the environmental scientist Jesse Ausubel, a Human Progress Board Member and Director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University in New York City. 

Watch the full video here

Census of Marine Life anthem

We listened again to Look to the Sea, the catchy song that Maryann Camilleri, Jerry Harrison, David Dennison, David Hardin, and others created for the Census of Marine Life in 2010.  The song, video and its creators are explained at

also at

The recording was played at the London Grand Finale of the CoML in October 2010.   The Steve Miller Band played the song several times during their 2010-2011 world tour.

Polished version of Michelson Oceans lecture

Jesse Ausubel had the honor in October 2015 to present the Michelson Lecture  at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.  Thanks Captain and Professor Emil Petruncio!

We now post a polished version of that lecture, “Ocean Past, Ocean Future: Reflections on the Shift from the 19th to 21st Century Ocean.”

Abstract In the 19th century humans knew little about the oceans, but other forms of life knew a lot. Our job the past 135 years has been to catch up and surpass other forms of life in knowledge of the oceans. The advance of observation through science and technology, including new carriers and processors of information, has vastly expanded the oceans knowable to humans beyond what a sailor’s five senses could directly provide. By infiltrating the ocean with informationally connected sensors, humans are becoming the top experts on the oceans in the 21st century.


Leonardo Da Vinci DNA project 12 Feb seminar at Rockefeller

The Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project:
Exploring the Intersections of Science and Art

Click on the title to see the lecture in YouTube

Jesse Ausubel, Karina Åberg, and Thomas P. Sakmar

Monday, February 12, 2018
6:00–7:15 p.m.Caspary Auditorium
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street New York, NY 10065

DNA sequencing has revolutionized the study of human genetic variation, and insights derived from DNA now matter in diverse settings – from hospitals to courtrooms. Scientists are now also exploring information that DNA might yield about cultural heritage. For example, what can it reveal about works of art and their creators?

Leonardo da Vinci is widely recognized as one of the most extraordinary figures in human history. Leading up to the 500th anniversary of his death in 2019, an international team –– including anthropologists, artists, art historians, forensic experts, genealogists, microbiologists, physicians, and population geneticists –– has assembled to uncover new facts and insights about Leonardo. One of the ambitious goals of the team is to use pioneering methods to obtain traces of DNA attributable to Leonardo from artworks, notebooks or other sources.

On Monday, February 12, three members of The Leonardo DNA Project team – Jesse Ausubel, Karina Åberg, and Thomas P. Sakmar – will describe the origins of this remarkable project, provide a progress report on their research, and reflect on how this scientific inquiry may contribute to art history and conservation, while uncovering new information about Leonardo’s life, ancestry and exceptional abilities.

Jesse Ausubel, Director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University, has helped design and conduct major international research programs, including the Census of Marine Life, Barcode of Life initiative, and Encyclopedia of Life. His lab is now using very short sequences of loose DNA found in seawater to assess the status of marine life. He initiated The Leonardo DNA Project in 2014.

Karina Åberg is a visual artist with a longstanding special interest in the application of digital technology to education. Her unique skill set and enthusiasm about digital media and technology have facilitated her innovative contributions to digital design, advertising, communications and teaching. Her early training in Renaissance art techniques has led to several advances as a member of The Leonardo DNA Project since 2015.

Thomas P. Sakmar is a physician-scientist and the Richard M. & Isabel P. Furlaud Professor at The Rockefeller University, where he heads the Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Signal Transduction. His research program is dedicated to chemical biology and drug discovery research. His interest in visual sensory perception and the origins of creativity in science and the arts have led to his involvement in The Leonardo DNA Project since 2014.