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Holding Court: William W. Fitzhugh

photo of William FItzhughHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we hear from William W. Fitzhugh, Director of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center and Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth.  His book about "the unicorn of the sea," Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend  , coedited by Martin T. Nweeia, is the companion to an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in 2017.

What is your book about?

Our book presents new discoveries about the elusive high arctic narwhal--its biology, ecology, Inuit and European relationships, new discoveries about its enigmatic tusk, and its prospects in a warming arctic.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

Narwhal was inspired by research revealing the tusk is a sensory organ that helps the animal navigate the Arctic's icy seas.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Exploring Arctic cultures and the environment will be my passion for lifetimes to come.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

A virtual network with Borg-like connectivity.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Follow your passion. Let instinct be your guide.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

Great naturalists like Charles Darwin, Edward Nelson, Alexander von Humboldt, Thomas Jefferson, and Louis Agassiz.

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