The Day the Dinosaurs Died: Dr. Ian Miller, Director of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

May 27, 2021 Season 1 Episode 22
The Day the Dinosaurs Died: Dr. Ian Miller, Director of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Show Notes

Dr. Ian Miller is the Director of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, now working with National Geographic as the Chief Science and Innovation Officer.  Dr. Miller is a paleobotanist who has spent his career making amazing discoveries about the ancient Earth using fossils!  In this interview Dr. Miller describes what the Earth looked and felt like in the minutes and days after a meteorite impact struck the planet, killing the dinosaurs and creating a global catastrophe!  Dr. Miller and his research team have made incredible discoveries that help us understand how life began to recover from this disastrous event, as well as making inferences about the height of the Ancient Rocky Mountains! 

If you are planning a trip in or around the Denver, Colorado area, you must listen to this episode to hear about the amazing geoscience story you are driving past!  Here is an excerpt from Dr. Miller's profile, and we think you will agree that Dr. Miller is one of the best science communicators out there.

Raised on a llama ranch in rural Washington State, Ian Miller first discovered the lure of rocks and fossils while scavenging mine tailings for fool’s gold and pulling Miocene clams out of road cuts with his four younger brothers. As a geology major at The Colorado College, he discovered fossil plants, his research specialty, while working as an intern at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. After a two-year stint as a field geologist in New Mexico, Ian attended Yale University, where he studied paleobotany and tectonics and received his PhD in 2007. 

Miller spent 15 years at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, most recently serving as the director of Earth and Space Sciences. During this time he studied fossil plants, paleoclimate, paleoecology, and tectonics, and he also co-led the Snowmastodon Project, which provided a new benchmark for understanding climate change in the American West. 

Throughout his academic career, Miller has natural history experience on all seven continents and has been a lead scientist on major field expeditions in Madagascar and much of the western United States. He has published 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles and books on paleobiology and geology.

Beyond his work as a scientist, Miller has led museum initiatives aimed at deepening people’s connection with the natural world and unearthing major trends in new and existing audiences that will define the future of museums. 

Miller is a previous board member of Snowmass Discovery, a peer-reviewer for multiple academic journals, and member of various scientific societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Geological Society of America, and International Council of Museums.

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