“Field Museum to Honor Jane Goodall, Celebrate Women in S.T.E.M. Fields” by S.M. O’Connor

The Women’s Board of Field Museum of Natural History will welcome Dame Jane Goodall, D.B.E., Ph. D., to Chicago to celebrate women in S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  There will be special programs at The Field Museum during the day and an evening V.I.P. reception to help celebrate her eighty-fourth birthday.  The 2018 Women in Science Luncheon will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, where Dr. Goodall will engage with forty schoolgirls from Chicago Public Schools.  At noon, during the actual lunch, she will be the keynote speaker.

Jane Morris-Goodall was born in London on April 3, 1934.  Her father, Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall, was a businessman and her mother, Margaret Myfanwe Joseph, was a novelist who wrote under the nom de plume Vanne Morris-Goodall.  She grew up with her sister Judy, with whom she shares or shared a home in England.

In 1957, she accepted an invitation from a classmate to visit her family farm in Kenya.  In 1958, with patronage of the famous paleoanthropologist and archeologist Dr. Louis Leakey (1903-1972), she went to London to study primates under Dr. Osman Hill (1901-1975) and Dr. John Napier (1917-1987).  In 1960, she began her study of the Kasakela chimpanzee colony of wild eastern chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in what is now Tanzania.[1]  She received a stipend from inventor and author Leighton Wilkie (1900-1993), Chairman of the DoAll Group in Des Plaines, Illinois, and funder of the old Civilization Through Tools and The Story of Writing exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry.  Her mother was her companion during this initial period of field study so she would not be alone in the wilderness, at the insistence of the wardens.  In 1962, Dr. Leakey sent her to Newnham College at the University of Cambridge to earn her doctorate, despite the fact she had not earned her bachelor’s degree.  She wrote her doctoral thesis under Robert Hinde (1923-2016).  Between 1964 and 1974, she was married to the Dutch aristocrat and documentary filmmaker Baron Hugo van Lawick (1937-2002).  During this period, she was a baroness.  In 1967, their son, Hugo Eric (“Grub”) van Lawick, was born, but they divorced in 1974.  The next year, she wed Derek Bryceson, who sat in the parliament of Tanzania and was a cabinet minister, and they remained married until his death in 1978.  Grub and his family reside at her compound at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Her discoveries include the realization that chimpanzees use sticks as primitive tools when previously academics believed one of the things that differentiated mankind from animals was that only men made tools, that chimps can he affectionate with relatives and friends in ways that are similar to people, that chimps are not vegetarians as previously believed and will hunt down and eat smaller primates, and that chimps can be extremely violent with each other in asserting or maintaining social dominance, up to an including acts of cannibalism.  She even witnessed, in the mid-1970s, a sort of civil war within the chimpanzee community she kept under observation as it broke into two groups and then the larger party conquered the smaller party.

In 1977, she founded The Jane Goodall Foundation.  She founded, in 1991, the youth program, Roots & Shoots.

In 1986, she learnt at a symposium on chimpanzees at The Chicago Academy of Sciences that chimpanzees were being killed for meat and also became concerned about the treatment of chimps in laboratories.  She decided at that time to refocus her energy from the study of chimps to conservation.

In 1990, the Inamori Foundation honored her with the Kyoto Prize.  Seven years later, she was one of three people whom the University of South California honored with the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.  That same year, The Field Museum honored as the thirteenth recipient of the Founder’s Council Award of Merit, in a dinner ceremony in Stanley Field Hall.

In 2001, The World Movement for Nonviolence honored her with the Gandhi-King Award for Nonviolence.  The next year, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan named her a United Nations Messenger of Peace.  In 2003, she received the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research from Prince Felipe (now King Felipe VI).  She was also honored in 2003 by Harvard Medical School and The Chicago Academy of Sciences. That same year, The Franklin Institute honored her with the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences.  Further, in 2003, Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame Commander of the British Empire.  Prince Charles presented her with the award in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2004.  She received the Legion of Honor from French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in 2006.  Jane Goodall has written sixteen non-fiction books for adults and fifteen books for children.

Women’s Board members Julie Goff, of Hinsdale, and Tonja Hall, of Glencoe, are co-chairwomen of the 2018 Women in Science Luncheon.  Proceeds from the day support Field Museum opportunities for young women who aspire to careers in S.T.E.M. fields through the Field Museum Women in Science Program.

“This program absolutely changes lives,” stated Dr. Corrie Moreau, Director of the Integrative Research Center at The Field Museum and Co-Chair of the Women in Science Steering committee.  “We have seen that for our graduate fellows and we certainly see it with our college and high school interns as well.  The strength of this program is not only does it offer financial support but it also provides this atmosphere to engage in first-class science where they are also embedded in a community of scientists who are incredibly supportive.  For many of them it is the first time they have ever had a chance to see a real woman scientist.”

The Women in Science Program provides annual summer internships for high school and undergraduate students, graduate fellowships, and, for the first time in 2018, a post-doctoral research position.  In addition, the program advocates for the participation of women in science through fifty activities per year, including a series of lectures and symposia, networking events, and learning activities for over 1,000 members.  For the Women in Science Luncheon, the Women’s Board is the primary funder and The Field Museum’s lead partner in these efforts.

Tuesday’s events will culminate with the evening reception at The Field Museum, when Jane Goodall will unveil the monument narrative sculpture by Marlia Friedman, a portraitist of some renown, for Dame Goodall’s birthday.  The sculpture is entitled The Red Palm Nut, and it memorializes the moment when Dr. Goodall, then a twenty-six-year-old field researcher, extended her hand to offer a red palm nut to the wild chimpanzee she had named David Graybeard, the first such chimp to allow her to come so close.

“In this sculpture, Marla has captured one of the most magical moments of my early time with the chimpanzees of Gombe when David Greybeard refused my offering of a palm nit but then reached out with a reassuring touch,” stated Dr. Goodall.  “It is wonderful to have this commemorated in this beautiful sculpture.”

[1] Between 1961 and 1964, the mainland part of Tanzania was called Tanganyika, and in 1964 this British protectorate gained independence, after which it merged with the People’s Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

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