London’s Natural History Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world – and one of the Google Cultural Institute’s newest flagship partners. Talks at Google is delighted to welcome Dr. Ian Owens, Director of Science, and Dr. Vince Smith, Research Leader, of the NHM in London to our offices.
Recorded November 2016
In collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute, Matt Brittin hosted this panel discussion with the two leading NHM scientists to discuss scientific research at the Museum, and its ongoing work and plans for digitisation and machine learning.
About Dr. Ian Owens:
Professor Ian Owens was appointed as Director of Science at the Natural History Museum, London, in October 2011. He joined the museum from Imperial College London, where he was head of the Department of Life Sciences. He has previously worked at the Institute of Zoology, London, and at the University of Queensland, Australia, and has had extensive involvement with learned societies, governmental and non-governmental agencies. He is an Honorary Research fellow of the Zoological Society of London and sits on the Natural Environment Research Council’s Post-Genomics and Proteomics steering committee. He is a Vice President of the Council of the British Trust for Ornithology and a Trustee of the National Biodiversity Network.
As Director of Science, Professor Owens oversees the work of over 300 scientists who are based at the Museum. He sets the strategic direction of the Museum’s scientific activities. This includes ensuring that the Museum meets its national and international responsibilities and the wider needs of society. He is also responsible for the Museum’s vast scientific collection of 70 million scientific specimens from all parts of the world. His research interests include large-scale patterns of biodiversity, ecological impacts of climate change, genetics of wild populations, speciation and diversification, phylogeny and ecology of extinction.
About Dr. Vince Smith:
Vince Smith is a research leader in informatics and head of the Informatics Division at the Natural History Museum, London, where he applies digital technologies to the study of taxonomy and biodiversity. He leads the Museum’s informatics initiative, building the NHM Data Portal and is at the forefront of developing new approaches to the mass digitisation of the museum’s 80 million specimens. Vince coordinates a series of EC and UK funded projects (e.g. SYNTHESYS3, ViBRANT, and eMonocot), is editor-in-chief of the Biodiversity Data Journal and a founding developer of the Scratchpad project. His taxonomic expertise is on parasitic lice and he works on the Museum’s 100k+ louse specimens to better understand the coevolution these parasites on their bird and mammal hosts.