Lectures

The Art of Way-Finding

Navigation Lecture Series

A lecture by John Huth, Codirector of the science program, Academic Ventures, at the Radcliffe Institute and Donner Professor of Science in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Lecture is free and open to the public. 


Humans are a peripatetic lot. From our origins in Africa, we have managed to inhabit nearly every corner of the earth. Our ability to navigate is both intrinsic and adaptive. Near the equator, Polynesians developed vessels and navigational skills that brought them hegemony through the vast reaches of the Pacific. The Norse sailed at high latitudes using the sun as a wayfinding aid. Inuit in the arctic barrens could read patterns in the snow, as Berbers read patterns in the sand. This talk explores the cultures of navigation and how they work in varied environments.

This talk opens the exhibition Finding Our Way: An Exploration of Human Navigation, February 14–November 2015, at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard. Cosponsored by the Radcliffe Institute and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture.


The navigation science lecture series is part of the Academic Ventures program at the Radcliffe Institute. A larger, one-day public symposium on the topic took place on Friday, November 14, 2014.