Friends and Enemies
The relationship between the United States and Britain dates to the first arrival of English settlers in the New World. A new exhibit at the Library of Congress, "John Bull and Uncle Sam: Four Centuries of British-American Relations," traces this connection from pre-Revolutionary times until now, with more than 200 rare and original treasures from the Library of Congress and the British Library.
Seven topics are examined: The Age of Exploration and Settlement, the American Revolution, War -- From Enemies to Allies, Reform Movements, Technology, Popular Culture, and Language and Literature.
Displays illustrating these themes include a proclamation by King George III declaring the colonies to be in "open rebellion;" Queen Victoria's letter to Mary Todd Lincoln after the president was assassinated; a speech by Frederick Douglass upon leaving Britain, praising racial justice he experienced there; and publicity materials from the Beatles' first album.
The exhibition, scheduled through March 4, is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. 202-707-9189.
What do "mad cows," people with neurodegenerative diseases and an unusual type of inheritance in yeast have in common? All seem to be experiencing the consequences of misfolded proteins. The consequences can be deadly, possibly leading to such devastating illnesses as Alzheimer's disease. When passed from one individual to another, they can produce various infectious conditions such as mad cow disease. Studies on a similar process in yeast cells indicate a new protein-based mechanism of heredity that may provide an excellent model for understanding misfolded proteins in humans.
Today at 5, Susan Lindquist of the University of Chicago is to discuss misfolded proteins in a free lecture at the National Academy of Science Auditorium, 2100 C St. NW. 202-334-2415.
Humans have altered the vast majority of American forests, prairies and rivers -- often for the worse. Yet, in some areas, more acres of forest exist now than in 1900. Many lakes and rivers are cleaner today than 20 years ago.
So what exactly is the state of wilderness and wildlife in America today? David S. Wilcove, an ecologist at the Environmental Defense Fund, is to address this at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Park tonight, 8. The talk is free, but reservations are required. Beginning at 7 p.m., Wilcove is to sign copies of his book, The Condor's Shadow: The Loss and Recovery of Wildlife in America. 202-673-4801.
ALL ABOUT PHYSICS
Questions children most frequently ask about physics are the subject of the first program in the new "Physics Is Phun" season at the University of Maryland's College Park campus.
Demonstrations and discussions are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12-13, 7:30 p.m., in the Physics Dept. Lecture Halls. From Route 1, turn right at the light at Campus Drive. Proceed one long block and bear right at the "BIG M" traffic circle. Lecture halls are on the right. Free parking is available at any non-metered space on the top levels of the parking garage across the street. 301-405-5994.
UNWRAPPING THE MUMMIES
Learn about the mummies of ancient Egypt in a free slide lecture by Allison Willcox, a research collaborator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. The talk, sponsored by National Capital Area Skeptics, is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m., at the Bethesda branch of the Montgomery County Library, 7400 Arlington Rd. 301-587-3827.
Many birds of prey live in our area. Meet some, live, at Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2 p.m. The center is at 5200 Glover Rd., off Military Avenue, in Washington. 202-426-6828.
NEW LIGHT ON THE UNIVERSE
With its superb images from the far reaches of the universe, the Hubble Space Telescope is one of astronomy's greatest triumphs, revolutionizing our thinking about Earth and its place in the cosmos. On Tuesday, Nov. 16, 6:30 p.m., Sandra M. Faber of the University of California, Santa Cruz, is to discuss "Landmark Images from The Hubble Telescope: Magic and Meaning." The free lecture is at the Carnegie Institution, 1530 P St. NW. Seating is limited. 202-328-6988.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The automobile brought a world of freedom for Americans, allowing them to explore their land in their own way. Beginning Friday, Nov. 19, the National Building Museum is to celebrate this golden age of the American road trip with a new exhibition, "See the U.S.A: Automobile Travel and the American Landscape." Through March 6, the museum, at 401 F St. NW, across from Judiciary Square Metro station, also continues its exhibit on the history and cultural significance of America's corner stores. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4. Admission is free. 202-272-2448.
WHAT'S THAT STUFF?
If you have any North American Indian artifacts you wish to know more about, bring them to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History Naturist Center, where experts can help to identify objects. The center requests no Meso-American specimens. Anthropologists from the museum also will discuss careers in anthropology and museum work. The free program is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is at 741 Miller Dr., Suite G-2, in Leesburg. No visitors under age 10 are permitted. 1-703-779-9712.
GLORY DAYS OF FLIGHT
Relive the glamor and excitement of a bygone era when traveling by air was always first class. On Saturday, Nov. 20, 6:45-11 p.m., the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is to sponsor a family night centering around the "Golden Age of Air Transportation." Live swing music, vintage aircraft, hands-on activities and special guests are to be featured in programs for families with children 10 and older. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children. Registration is required by Nov. 15. 202-786-2108.
The museum also plans a lecture by Curt Newport, who led the expedition to retrieve Mercury astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom's space capsule, the Liberty Bell 7, which sank after splashdown in the Atlantic in 1961. The free talk is slated Thursday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.
The museum's "Curator's Choice" programs continue every Wednesday at noon. Interested visitors should meet at the Gold Seal in the Milestones of Flight Gallery. 202-357-2700.
MOUNT VERNON BY CANDLELIGHT
Take a candlelight tour of George Washington's estate at Mount Vernon and learn about the Christmas traditions of the first first family and how the couple entertained during the holidays. It's part of a special program scheduled for three weekends: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 26-27-28, Dec. 3-4-5 and Dec. 10-11-12. Guests also may enjoy caroling, cookies and hot cider around a bonfire on the estate grounds. 703-780-2000.
Scientists are becoming more convinced about the link between dinosaurs and birds, and many experts now think that feathers were widespread among juvenile meat-eating dinosaurs, possibly including Tyrannosaurus rex. Three fossil dinosaurs from China with birdlike bones and indications of feathers -- one completely new to science -- are on display at the National Geographic Society's museum, Explorers Hall, through Jan. 18. The remains, never before displayed, come from fast, bipedal meat eaters. The museum, at 17th and M streets NW, is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. 202-857-7588.
The modern observance of Thanksgiving grew out of the colonial celebration of the end of the harvest season. On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26-27, Historic St. Mary's City, the outdoor museum at Maryland's first capital, is to present "Giving Thanks: Hearth and Home in Early Maryland." This museum-wide exploration of 17th century food traditions includes demonstrations of hearth cooking, pickling meats and vegetables, preserving fruits and more. Visitors are encouraged to help churn butter, grind corn and shuck beans. The cost of the program is included with admission: $7.50 for adults, $6 for seniors and students 13-18 and $3.50 for children. Historic St. Mary's City is located on Route 5 in Southern Maryland. 1-800-SMC-1634.
Come to a "Garden of Lights" at Brookside Botanical Gardens, beginning Friday, Nov. 26. More than 500,000 lights in the shape of flowers, animals, falling snow and more are to illuminate a half-mile stroll. The gardens are at 1800 Glenallan Ave. in Wheaton. The special program, scheduled through Jan. 2, is open Thursday through Sunday, 5:30-9 p.m., with the last car admitted at 8:30 p.m. It will be closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31. Admission is $10 per car. No pedestrians are permitted. 301-962-1453.
In recent years, scientists have discovered evidence of numerous planets revolving around stars outside our solar system. Some of these putative planets are quite unusual, including ones that are the size of Jupiter and appear to be orbiting as close to their star as Mercury is to our sun. On Friday, Dec. 3, 10:30 a.m., Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington is to discuss "The Search for Extrasolar Planets." The free lecture is in the Green Auditorium at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Dr., Gaithersburg. 301-975-4203.
A LETTER FROM THE KING
The story of Anna Leonowens, a governess, and the King of Siam was popularized in a book by Margaret Landon and later by a Broadway musical and Hollywood film. King Somdetch Phra Paramendar Maha Mongkut ruled Siam (now Thailand) from 1851 to 1868 and employed Leonowens to teach his children English. The king also carried on friendly correspondence with several U.S. presidents, and one of his letters to James Buchanan, offering him elephants, is displayed at the Rotunda of the National Archives Building through the end of the month. 202-501-5000.
TO BE LISTED NEXT TIME
Submissions for the Dec. 8 calendar must be received by Monday, Nov. 29. Send information to Michael Farquhar, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.