When: Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Please join us for an extraordinary evening with Wade Davis, PhD, FN ’87, anthropologist, ethnobotanist, writer and Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Dr. Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. He is the winner of The Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers Club, the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Lowell Thomas Medal (The Explorer’s Club) and the Lannan Foundation prize for literary non-fiction. In addition he was awarded the David Fairchild Medal, the most prestigious award for botanical exploration. Wade has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”
Wade Davis has spent decades traveling to remote locations studying little-known cultures, and sharing his experiences in thrilling books, articles, and films. Over the past ten years he has also been at work researching and writing the story of an adventure from an earlier generation, the first assault on Everest. His talk will be a momentous look at George Mallory's doomed attempts to scale Everest after World War I in his new book “Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest,” which recently won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction in the UK, the top award for literary nonfiction in the English language.
He also details the story from the viewpoint of the Sherpas, people of the high Himalayas, and how these attempts led to the birth of the modern Sherpa culture. Davis is the author of 15 books, including Passage of Darkness and The Serpent and the Rainbow, which detail his Haitian investigations into zombies.
This project started in 1996 when Davis completed a 3,700 mile overland journey from Chengdu in Western China through southeastern Tibet to Lhasa and on to Kathmandu. He returned to Tibet to photograph clouded leopards on a route which took him along the same trails travelled by the British expeditions of the 1920s. From the camp, they stared up at a mountain that has killed one climber for every 10 that have reached the summit. He was filled with admiration, curiosity and awe thinking of the early British climbers, dressed in tweeds and reading Shakespeare in the snow. Four subsequent trips to Tibet and Nepal plus years of research in major archives, libraries and research collections led to this monumental story of exploration and adventure.