Dr. Nick Pyenson

Paleontologist and the Curator, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC


Dr. Nick Pyenson is a paleontologist and the curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. His expeditions have taken him to every continent studying the evolution and ecology of marine mammals. Along with his collaborators, he has named over a dozen new fossil species, discovered the richest fossil whale graveyard on the planet, and described an entirely new sensory organ in living whales. Along with cover articles in the journals Science and Nature, his research has received the highest awards from the Smithsonian, and he has also received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House. His popular book Spying on Whales was featured on national television and radio, and included in many best science book compilations and shortlisted for several awards.

He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia and received his doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Pyenson is also a member of the Young Scientists community at the World Economic Forum.

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