press & News

Sniffing Power of King Penguin Discussed at Rochester Museum & Science Center Lecture

    ROCHESTER, NY—Attendees to a new Richard C. Shultz Science on the Edge lecture at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) discover the unique sensitivity of the nose of a King penguin and get insight into life on one of the most remote locations on Earth. The lecture, “Sleeping beauty: Studying the sense of smell of King penguins,” takes place at 7pm on Wednesday, April 20 in the Bausch Auditorium at the RMSC. Doors open at 5:30pm for visitors to explore the Museum exhibits.

    The expert speaker, Dr. Gregory Cunningham, Associate Professor of Biology at St. John Fisher College, spent 30 days living alongside more than 100,000 King penguins on the island of Kerguelen in the Indian Ocean. There he investigated whether adults and chicks were sensitive to food-related and social odors. Audience members learn about Dr. Cunningham’s fascinating research and experiences.

    A self-proclaimed “bird-geek,” Dr. Cunningham has studied the sense of smell of birds for more than 15 years. His research has brought him to South Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico and three times to the sub-Antarctic. He was among the first researchers to demonstrate that a penguin has a functioning sense of smell. Dr. Cunningham is also interested in how odors can be used to alter the stress physiology of a bird. Dr. Cunningham has a Doctorate degree from the University of California at Davis and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Guelph.

    Science on the Edge lectures have provided insight and understanding about current research in a broad array of topics for a general audience for more than 30 years. Science on the Edge sparks intelligent conversations throughout the community. The relaxed atmosphere allows adult learners to comfortably expand their knowledge as well as have a unique after-hours opportunity to explore the Museum’s three floors filled with 200 hands-on exhibits. Light refreshments are available after the lecture as well as an opportunity to meet the speaker.

    Ticket prices:

    Adult RMSC Member: $8;
    Adult General Public: $10.

    Student* RMSC Member: $5;
    Student* General Public: $6.

    *Students through grade 12 or college students with valid college ID. To register, call 585.697.1942. Check periodically for details on other upcoming lectures.

    For high-resolution images and additional information, contact Amanda Bayer, Marketing Communications Manager, RMSC at 585.697.1962 or

    Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is one of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.