Changing Times, Changing Cultures

For June 10, 2020

Please share this missive with your friends & neighbors.

Hi WN@TL Fans,

We’re being soaked by the remnants of tropical storm that came ashore just east of New Orleans and flew straight as an arrow due north. It’s a strange year.

For another example, today was supposed to be the last day of classes at Madison public schools. The buildings have been closed down since March 13; by a promethean feat of improvisation, the MMSD teachers and their technology colleagues have kept the lamps of learning burning. MMSD students and their parents, and many other students & parents all over the world, have been baptized into a collegiate world of classwork that requires diligence, planning, prioritization, checklists, timetables and deadlines.

The past three months have been a kind of education in Expeditionary Management.

These months have also fueled a re-assessment of the relationships between teachers and students, between students and their fellows, and between teachers and parents. The nature of the original relationships had not changed much since I was in school starting in 1962.

But at the Nobelist sang, the times they are achanging, and not only in the classroom. In few scholarly fields are the relationships between nations, and the cultures among researchers, changing in such profound ways as in anthropology and paleontology.

So this week it is my pleasure to remind you of the WN@TL presentations of John Hawks, and of the presentations of his associates Alia Gurtov and Sarah Traynor, on their expeditions with their collaborators from South Africa to uncover and describe Homo naledi.

These are impressive not only for their brilliant science, but also for how they illustrate the ways scientists are changing the culture of doing science, of making & sustaining collaborations, and of engaging the public in the sharing in the discovery.

Alia Gurtov 2015


John Hawks 2016



John Hawks 2017


Sarah Traynor 2017


I hope to see you sometime soon once we can resume Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.

Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H

UW-Madison: 5.8 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university.

Visit UW-Madison’s science outreach portal at for information on the people, places & programs on campus that welcome you to come experience science as exploring the unknown, all year round.

Here are the components of the WN@TL User’s Guide:
1. The live WN@TL seminar, every Wednesday night, 50 times a year, at 7pm CT (on hiatus as of March 11, 2020)
2. The live web stream at (also on hiatus)
3. The WN@TL YouTube channel
4. WN@TL on the University Place broadcast channel of PBS Wisconsin
5. WN@TL on the University Place website

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