Geschke Lecture Series

Please join us for the 2022 Nantucket Atheneum Geschke Lecture Series. (Buy Tickets for 2022) We invite you to watch videotaped recordings of past lectures, which you’ll find at the bottom of the page.

As Nantucket’s public library, the Nantucket Atheneum has a long history of providing services and programs to the island’s year-round and summer residents. During the library’s 183 years of service, a central part of its mission has been to bring to the island distinguished lecturers including our earliest speakers — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Frederick Douglass.

In accordance with this long-standing tradition, the Geschke Lecture Series was created as a result of a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge grant awarded to the Atheneum in 2003, a significant donation from the Geschke Foundation and the ongoing support of many library donors. Starting in the summer of 2005, the Geschke Lecture Series has brought speakers to Nantucket to inform and challenge our audiences with current critical ideas and issues.

Join us for our first Geschke Lecture event of the 2022 Season!

Tracy Edwards: “Maiden Full Circle”

7 PM – 8 PM

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
20 Fair Street
Nantucket, MA 02554


Tracy Edwards, MBE gained international fame in 1990 as the skipper of the first all-female crew to sail around the world when they raced in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race. After years of struggle, Maiden’s voyage was only made possible by the support of her friend, HM King Hussein I of Jordan. Maiden won two legs and arrived second overall in her class, the best result for a British boat since 1977 and unbeaten to this day. Tracy was awarded an MBE and became the first woman in its 34-year history to be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. She paved the way for other women to follow. Her memoir, “Maiden,” was published in 1990 and was No.1 on the Times bestseller list for 19 weeks.

Following her Whitbread Round the World victory, Tracy consolidated her position as one of the world’s top sailors by entering Trophy Jules Verne in 1998, again with an all-female crew. This yachting trophy is for the fastest circumnavigation around the world, with no stopping and no outside assistance. For more than half the route, Edward’s team was comfortably on course to smash the record, but they were thwarted when the mast snapped in two in the treacherous seas off the coast of Chile. During their attempt, Edwards and her team broke seven world records.

Edwards retired from round-the-world sailing two years later while pregnant with her daughter Mackenna and published her second book, “Living Every Second.” She then decided to turn her attention to organizing the world’s first non-stop round the world race; it would start and finish in the Middle East. The event was a huge success, but the Qatari sponsor did not pay, and Tracy was forced into bankruptcy in 2005. She then worked as a Project Manager at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and attained a 2:1 degree in Psychology at Roehampton University.

Nantucket Atheneum Geschke Lecture Series: Tracy Edwards: Maiden Full Circle
Geschke Lectures, The Future of Nuclear Energy: Panel Discussion

The Future of Nuclear Energy: Panel Discussion

TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2022
7 PM – 8 PM

Great Harbor Yacht Club


Nuclear energy has become increasingly topical in the face of today’s climate and energy security challenges. In order to address these issues, a new generation of startup companies is developing new reactors and business models focused on modernizing the technology for the needs of this century. This event will include panelists representing the National Reactor Innovation Center and other organizations within the advanced nuclear energy sector. Brief presentations will be given about each organization’s work and followed by a Q&A session facilitated by Atheneum staff.

Daniel Yergin and Angela Stent: “Turbulent World: Russia, Ukraine and Energy in Crisis”

7 PM – 8 PM

Unitarian Church


Join us for a conversation with Dr. Angela Stent and Dr. Daniel Yergin, who each have their fingers on the pulse of the events unfolding in Russia and Ukraine and the impact on the rest of the world. The talk will be moderated by CNN Correspondent Kitty Pilgrim, who has reported extensively on the Russian economy.
The event will be followed by a book signing for Putin’s World by Dr. Stent and The New Map by Dr. Yergin.

About Angela Stent

Dr. Stent is one of the nation’s leading experts on Russia, its foreign policy, and relations with the United States. Her newest book, Putin’s World, is described by William Burns, current CIA director and former Deputy Secretary of State, as “the definitive guide to understanding the tangled history of post-Cold War Russia…could not be more timely.”

Dr. Stent is currently a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution where she co-chairs the Hewitt Forum on Post-Soviet Affairs. She formerly directed the Center on Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University where she was a Professor of Government and Foreign Service. She has served as National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council.  She also served in the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State and on the senior advisory panel for NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

Her latest book Putin’s World won the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy’s prize for the best book on U.S-Russian Relations. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called it a “brilliant exposition of Putin’s strategy.” Her previous book, The Limits of Partnership: U.S. Russian Relations in the 21st Century was described as “magisterial” by The Economist and was honored by the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2014 as “the best book on the practice of American diplomacy.”

About Daniel Yergin

Dr. Yergin is a highly respected authority on energy, international politics, and economics, and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Time Magazine said, “If there is one man whose opinion matters more than any other on global energy markets, it’s Daniel Yergin.” The New York Times described Daniel Yergin as “America’s most influential energy pundit.”  Dr. Yergin is Vice Chairman of S&P Global.

Dr. Yergin’s new book The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations is described by NPR as “a master class on how the world works”, by the London Sunday Times as a “wonderful book” and, in The Washington Post, as “a tour de force of geopolitical understanding.”.  It is a Wall Street Journal bestseller

Dr. Yergin is the author of the bestseller The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World.  His book The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil Money and Power was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, was a number one New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages. He co-authored Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, of which  the Wall Street Journal said “No one could ask for a better account of the world’s political and economic destiny since World War II.”  Both The Prize and The Commanding Heights were made into multi-hour television series for PBS and BBC.

He is a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior trustee of the Brookings Institution.

Geschke kecture, Dan Yergin and Angela Stent: "Turbulent World: Russia, Ukraine and Energy in Crisis"
Geschke kecture, Dan Yergin and Angela Stent: "Turbulent World: Russia, Ukraine and Energy in Crisis"
Geschke lecture, New England Aquarium
Geschke lectures, New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium

Seaside Conversation: Sharks, Sea Turtles & Whales

7 PM – 8 PM

White Elephant Ballroom


The ocean is essential to the health of our planet, and home to an incredibly diverse array of life. However, the ocean is also facing unprecedented challenges due to climate change and a rapidly increasing global ocean economy. Please join New England Aquarium President and CEO Vikki N. Spruill, Vice President and Chief Scientist John Mandelman, and Senior Scientist Dr. Nick Whitney for a special interactive conversation and Q & A around the role the Aquarium and its partners are playing to safeguard ocean species, habitats and ecosystems in the face of these challenges. The Aquarium is a recognized global leader for its scientific research on sharks, sea turtles and the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. The discussion will primarily focus on the sharks (of Nantucket waters), including but not limited to their importance to ocean health, species diversity, historical and present significance to mariners as well as residents of Nantucket, and how the Aquarium is studying the effects of different industries like offshore wind and fisheries on these animals in regional waters.

Geschke lectures

Vikki Spruill, President & CEO

Vikki N. Spruill is President and CEO of the New England Aquarium, an ocean conservation organization that educates and inspires more than a million visitors a year on Boston’s Central Wharf; conducts applied research through its Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life; and rescues and rehabilitates threatened and endangered sea turtles in its Sea Turtle Hospital in Quincy, Mass.

Ms. Spruill previously served as President and CEO of the Council on Foundations, the largest association of philanthropic grant-making organizations, and Ocean Conservancy, a science-based advocacy organization dedicated to the oceans. She also founded the Trash Free Seas Alliance, was the founding director of SeaWeb, and helped found COMPASS, which empowers scientists to better engage in public discourse on environmental issues.

Ms. Spruill is on the Board of Directors of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Harwood Institute, and the Water Institute of the Gulf. She is a Trustee of the New England Aquarium and an active member of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission and the Massachusetts Women’s Forum. She also serves as Co-chair of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Climate & Energy Leadership Council.

John Mandelman, Geschke lectures

John Mandelman, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Scientist Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life

Dr. John Mandelman is Vice President and Chief Scientist of the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, the Aquarium’s solutions-based ocean research, policy and technical advising institute. Dr. Mandelman has resided at the Aquarium in various capacities since 2004. In collaboration with various colleagues around the globe, John’s scientific research has focused on better understanding and reducing negative effects of human-induced disturbances on vulnerable ocean species, including sharks in the North Atlantic, and has routinely been used to inform fisheries management, industry practices and ocean policy. In addition to his primary role at the New England Aquarium, John is adjunct Faculty at the University of Massachusetts Boston, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s School of Marine Science and Technology, and the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Nick Whitney, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Chair, Fisheries Science and Emerging Technologies (FSET) Program at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life.

Dr. Nick Whitney is a Senior Scientist and Chair of the Fisheries Science and Emerging Technologies Program at the Anderson Cabot Center. Nick’s work focuses on the use of cutting-edge technology to answer important questions for species conservation and responsible management of natural resources.

Nick’s most recent work has focused on the use of accelerometers, the same technology found in smartphones, Fitbits®, and other modern electrics to study the fine-scale behavior of sharks in the wild. He and his team have used this technology to study shark mating behavior and energy expenditure, and to determine whether and how sharks survive the stress of being caught and released by fishermen. Nick’s accelerometer work has expanded to other animals, including several species of sea turtles, fishes, and pythons.

Previous Geschke Lectures


George Friedman, author of The Storm Before the Calm; Theodore R. Johnson, author of When the Stars Begin to Fall; Ken Auletta, writer for The New Yorker & Robert Williams, former president and CEO of National Public Broadcasting and National Public Media; Neurosurgeon Neal Kassell & John Grisham, best-seller novelist; Sylvia Earle National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.


Kara Swisher, New York Times columnist on technology; Jon Alterman, Director of Middle East Program at Center for Strategic and International Studies; Chris Lee, Hawaii Legislature; Dr. Richard Haass, Council On Foreign Relations and International Politics; Hon. Kevin Rudd, The Asia Society.


Dr. John Holdren, climate change science expert; Jon B. Alterman, What Do We Remember When We Remember Jerusalem?; Gen. David Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and commanded U.S. and International Security Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq; R. Nicholas Burns, founder of the Future of Diplomacy Project.


Dr. Jerrold Rosenbaum, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University Understanding Depression;  Robert Traver, Villanova University, Managing Polluntants from Stormwater; Peter Baker & Susan Glasser, New York Times & POLITICO, Current Events & Washington Politics; Richard Haass, National Security Council, A World In Disarray; Panel Discussion:  Making A Difference In Africa With Pam Allyn (LitWorld) and Vanessa Kerry (Seed Global Health).


David Mindell, MIT and author of Our Robots Our Selves;  Jay Famiglietti, University of California & NASA, Water Security; Robin Wright Washington Post and the New Yorker, foreign policy; Dr. Wayne Shreffler, Massachusetts General Hospital, food allergies.


Susan Glasser, POLITICO Editor; Ajay Royan, Mithril Capital Management co-founder; Roz Chast, New Yorker cartoonist; Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Alzheimer’s disease research.


Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard University nutritionist; Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings and founder of HICcup; Joe Klein, author and TIME Magazine columnist; And, Peter Baker, New York Times White House correspondent.


David Owen, a New Yorker author ; John Donoghue, a Brown University neuroscientist; Harvard University astronomer Dr. Robert Kirshner ; Maureen Orth, Vanity Fair special correspondent, and Chuck Todd, Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News; and United Nations prosecutor Richard Goldstone.


Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times; Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University Ethics professor and author of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress; Panel Discussion on the Economy, moderated by David Gregory, NBC News with Jack Welch, General Electric, Louis V Gerstner, Jr., IBM and Bob Wright, NBC; And, Louis Susman, United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James.


Ian Frazier, author and New Yorker staff writer; David Gregory NBC moderator of “Meet The Press”; Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of 11 books; and, Joseph Nye, Jr., Dean Emeritus of the Kennedy School, Harvard University.


Computer technology innovators Chuck Geschke (Adobe) and Bob Metcalfe (3Com); New York Times Columnist and Author Thomas Friedman; Washington Post Columnist and MSNBC Commentator Eugene Robinson; and President of Pew Research Center Andrew Kohut


Pulitzer-Prize-winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin; Presidential Advisor David Gergen; CBS News journalist Lesley Stahl; and Carnegie Corporation President Vartan Gregorian.


Print and television journalist Mike Barnicle; former Delaware Governor Pete du Pont; NPR journalist Mara Liasson; Washington Post journalist Robin Wright; PBS journalist Gwen Ifill.


Committee for Economic Development, Charles Kolb; MIT President Dr. Susan Hockfield; Natural Resources Defense Council, Frances Beinecke; Presidential Advisor David Gergen; Project HOPE Dr. John Howe III; Business Week columnists Jack and Suzy Welch.


National Review journalist Jay Nordlinger; NPR President Kevin Klose; New York Times editor Jill Abramson; Jay Rosen of New York University; CBS News journalist Katie Couric; CBS News anchor Lesley Stahl; NBC News anchor Tim Russert; PBS television host David Brancaccio; Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Henninger; Concord Monitor photographer Daniel Habib.


Authors Patricia Ebrey, Nancy Berliner, Jerome Silbergeld, Andrea and Lynde McCormick, Neil Baldwin, David McCullough, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Father Robert Drinan, and U.S. Senator Bill Frist.