Speaker Series: The Human Swarm

crowd of people, human swarm

Big Learnings from the Smallest Creatures

Monday, July 1, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm


The Franklin Institute
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
  • Adults
  • Evening
  • Free
  • Members

Mark Moffett - The Human Swarm – Big Learnings from the Smallest Creatures

From small packs of hunter-gatherers, to nations of millions – human society has evolved, relatively quickly, on an almost incomprehensible scale. But how common are large-scale societies in nature? Are we the anomaly? How important are factors like language, brain size, or concepts of identity to creating a successful society, and what are some of the fundamental challenges societies must overcome to thrive? Some of the answers might be lurking in your own backyard.       

Dubbed the “Indiana Jones of entomology” by the National Geographic Society, explorer, photographer and author Dr. Mark Moffett has traveled the world for decades studying the ways societies develop, function, and fail. Join Moffett as he sits down with The Franklin Institute’s chief bioscientist, Dr. Jayatri Das, for a conversation about his fascination with ants and other bugs, his extraordinary experiences over years of research expeditions, and questions about the forces of conflict and cooperation discussed in his newest book, The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall.

Currently, Moffett serves as a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution where he studies the evolution of societies and the ecology of forest canopies. He has also served as the curator the world’s largest ant collection at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. To read more about Mark Moffett, his most recent writings, and his exciting research expeditions click here.