Since 1991, the Carnegie Institution has hosted extraordinary researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines as part of the Capital Science Evenings lecture series. The lectures provide a unique opportunity to connect with some of the most gifted investigators in science and hear the stories behind their discoveries. These hour-long lectures, followed by a brief question and answer period, go beyond the media accounts for a firsthand look at the “ah-ha” moments, the setbacks, and the triumphs that drive brilliant minds and fundamentally change our understanding of the world around us. Most of the lectures are livestreamed and recorded.  Capital Science Evenings, free , and open to the public. Join us as we redefine the pursuit of what is possible. 

To see what everyone sees but think what no one has thought: The immortal kiss of our grandparents

Thursday, April 21, 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

As humans, we have survived and evolved because we are curious and critical thinkers. How do those traits shape our lives and our science and lead us to understand the world around us? Epigenetics, a new area of research, weaves together our genetics and environment and shapes who we are. This talk will explore what we can do about the impacts of trauma and war on our bodies.


Rana Dajani Ph.D. molecular cell biology from University of Iowa, Tenured Professor at Hashemite University, Jordan,  Cmalakova Fellow, Jepson School of Leadership, University of Richmond, Harvard Radcliff fellow, a Fulbrighter,  Fulbright Foreign Student, 2000; Fulbright Visiting Scholar, 2012. Eisenhower fellow, former center of studies director, Hashemite University, Jordan, Yale and Cambridge visiting professor. Research area of expertise epigenetics and biomarkers of trauma among refugees and across generations and world expert on genetics of Circassian and Chechan populations in Jordan. Established stem cell research ethics law in Jordan. Advocate for biological evolution and Islam. Member UN women Jordan advisory council. Writer in Science and Nature, Established a women mentor network, received Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) award 2014. Organized the first gender summit for the Arab world 2017. Most influential women scientists in Islamic World, 12 among 100 most influential Arab women 2015, women in science hall of fame 2015, King Hussein Cancer Institute for cancer and biotechnology award 2009 and 2016 Global Changemaker Award for celebrating 70 years of the Fulbright Programm. President of the Society for the Advancement of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Arab World. women of influence in the Arab World 2021 Arabian Business magazine’s list.

Awarded the Jordan star of science by His Majesty King Abdullah II, University of Iowa, College of medicine, distinguished alumni Award 2018, Higher Education Reform Expert EU-TEMPUS, Jordan, founder service learning center, Hashemite University, speaker at TEDxDeadsea and TEDxPSUT, World Islamic Economic Forum 2012 and World Science Forum 2015 and 2017. 

Developed a community-based model “We love reading” Changing mindsets through reading to create changemakers, received Synergos Arab world social innovators 2009,  Clinton Global Initiative 2010, Library of Congress best practices 2013, World Innovation Summit in Education Award 2014, King Hussein Medal of Honor 2014, Star Award 2015, best refugee education program 2015, UNESCO International Literacy Prize 2017, World Literacy Council Award 2018 and the Jacobs social entrepreneurship award 2018, Science, Technology and Innovation Award UN 2019, Ashoka Fellow 2019, UNHCR Nansen Refugee awardee 2020, Schwab Social entrepreneur 2022.

Author of the book: Five scarves, Doing the impossible: If we can reverse cell fate why can't we redefine success, Nova Publisher 2018. Reviewed by Nature.

Dr. Rana Dajani: Professor of Molecular Cell Biology, Hashemite University

Black Holes at Work - Kavli Prize Laureate Lecture

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Professor Andrew Fabian OBE FRS is a Professor in the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, where he leads the Insitute's X-Ray research group. The group's research focuses on active galaxies, clusters of galaxies, elliptical galaxies, galactic black holes, neutron stars and the X-ray background. He is one of two UK members on ESA's Athena Science Study Team and Chair of the Science Advisory Committee for the Japanese mission ASTRO-H. He has previously held the role of Director of the Institute of Astronomy.

Before becoming its Director, Professor Fabian was a Royal Society Research Professor in the Institute of Astronomy. Between 2008 and 2013 he was President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and from 1997 to 2012 he was Vice-Master of Darwin College, Cambridge. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1996, he was awarded the American Astronomical Society's Bruno Rossi Prize in 2001, and he was appointed an OBE in 2006.

In conversation with Emmy Award-winning journalist Frank Sesno (photo on the left), the Director of Strategic Initiatives at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

Dr. Andrew Fabian, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

The Kavli Prize is a partnership between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (United States), and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

This event is co-hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science with The Kavli Foundation, the Royal Embassy of Norway, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters





One Brain, Many Behaviors: The Fascinating World of Circuit Neuroscience - A Conversation with Cori Bargmann, Ph.D.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

How do genes and the environment interact to generate a variety of behaviors? How are behavioral decisions modified by context and experience? Neuroscience has reached a stage where these questions can be asked with great precision, and, in some cases, answered. The goal is an integrated view of the brain – what specific molecules, neurons, and circuits do across time, and what functions arise at each level of analysis. The Bargmann lab has studied these questions in the nematode C. elegans, whose simple nervous system consists of only 302 neurons – yet the animal can move around, explore the environment, evaluate its social context, and learn from experience. Using both classical neuroscience approaches and new tools that have emerged in the past two decades, we have learned how sensory neurons evaluate stimuli, how integrating neurons combine sensory inputs, and how groups of integrating neurons coordinate their activity to guide behavior.

Animal and human behavior is not fixed, but is reversibly modified by internal motivational and emotional states. At the heart of these internal states are chemical neuromodulators such as serotonin, dopamine, and neuropeptides. Neuromodulators are highly conserved in evolution, with recognizable similar functions in different animals. By studying molecules like serotonin and oxytocin in C. elegans, we have determined how they transiently rewire the functional properties of the nervous system, allowing internal states to alter spontaneous and sensory behaviors.

Dr. Cori Bargmann:  Professor at The Rockefeller University, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor of Genetics and Genomics, Neurosciences and Behavior; 2012 Kavli Prize Laureate in Neuroscience

Bargmann will share her research in conversation with Emmy Award-winning journalist Frank Sesno, the Director of Strategic Initiatives at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

Co-hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science with The Kavli Foundation, the Royal Embassy of Norway, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and LettersThe Kavli Prize is a partnership between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (United States), and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

Photo Credit: The Rockefeller University 

***This lecture is an in-person only event. The lecture will not be streamed live or recorded.***

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) requires that visitors to NAS facilities provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 (as defined by the most current CDC Guidance). Visitors must show their official COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (or a digital photo of the card) to the security staff. A visitor's vaccination information will not be recorded or stored by the NAS.​