Kirk Johnson is the Sant Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Over his career as a geologist and paleobotanist, he has excavated and studied fossil plants from latitude 62°S to 82°N. His most recent book, <i>Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline: The Travels of an Artist and a Scientist along the Shores of the Prehistoric Pacific</i>, was published last September. Over the last year, he has been filming <i>Polar Extremes</i>, a PBS NOVA special about the ancient climates of the polar regions.
By raising her son to be curious about the natural world, Kirk Johnson's mother helped shape the trajectory of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.