Denver Museum of Nature & Science Names Dr. Scott Sampson Vice President of Research and Collections
Denver—February 19, 2013—Dr. Scott Sampson has been named vice president of research and collections and chief curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, effective February 28, 2013.
Sampson, a dinosaur paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and educator—notable for his research on dinosaurs—is well known as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist” on the highly acclaimed PBS KIDS television series, Dinosaur Train. He was most recently chief curator at the Natural History Museum of Utah, and has served the past two years on the Board of Trustees for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
"This is an exciting time for our organization and the community we serve," said George Sparks, President and CEO of the Museum. "We are incredibly pleased to welcome such a passionate and visionary scientist such as Dr. Sampson. He brings the leadership necessary to ensure our continued quality scientific research, collection stewardship, dynamic educational programming, and exhibition content, all of which contribute to the Museum’s continued success."
Dr. Sampson’s primary responsibilities will be to oversee the Research and Collections Division’s staff, including 15 PhD scientists, as well as the Museum’s collections, numbering nearly 1.5 million artifacts and specimens. Sampson will also serve on the Museum’s executive team.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, one of the top-ranked natural history museums in the country,” Sampson said. “At this pivotal moment in human history, natural history museums can help heal the divide that separates humans from nature, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is poised to take a leading role.”
Sampson received his PhD in zoology from the University of Toronto in 1993. He spent a year working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, followed by five years as assistant professor of anatomy at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine on Long Island. From 1999 to 2007, he held a dual position with the Utah Museum of Natural History and the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah, serving for the last several years of that period as chief curator and associate professor, respectively. In 2007, Sampson moved to the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where, in addition to continuing dinosaur research, he has pursued a range of projects focused on science education.
Sampson’s research has focused on the ecology and evolution of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs. He has conducted fieldwork in Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. His current research is focused on a large-scale project in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, which has yielded abundant remains of a previously unknown dinosaur assemblage. Sampson has published numerous scientific and popular articles, and lectured extensively to audiences of all ages on many topics, including dinosaurs, evolution, and education.
With regard to science education, Sampson was the primary scientific consultant and on-air host of the four-part Discovery Channel series Dinosaur Planet. As noted, he is “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist” on PBS KIDS’ Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company. His book Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life (University of California Press, 2009) is the first general audience review of dinosaur paleontology in more than two decades. Sampson is currently working on a book about the importance of fostering a love of nature in children.
“Scott has a passion for connecting people to nature and an established reputation as a science communicator,” said Sparks. “His visions align with that of the Museum, making him a great match for this role.”
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About the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region's leading resource for informal science education. A variety of engaging exhibits, discussions, and activities help Museum visitors celebrate and understand the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. To learn more about the Museum, check www.dmns.org, or call 303-370-6000.
Many of the Museum's educational programs and exhibits are made possible in part by generous funding from the citizens of the seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District.