Noted paleontologist and Professor Emeritus John W. Happ, Ph.D., will present “Discoveries of a Triceratops and T. rex Dinosaur Hunter,” as the featured speaker at Shenandoah University’s annual Warrington Science Symposium on Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. in Halpin Harrison Hall, Stimpson Auditorium on main campus. The College of Arts & Sciences’ natural sciences and mathematics students will also present posters describing their research projects. Both events are free and open to the public.
Expeditions to Montana’s badlands to study the chemistry of rock layers that formed when the dinosaurs disappeared led Dr. Happ to discover several exemplary skeletons of Triceratops, the three-horned dinosaur. Happ and his undergraduate assistants collected bones and bone fragments, painstakingly reassembling them back at Shenandoah University.
One triceratops skull showed that the dinosaur had survived a tyrannosaurus attack. Happ’s subsequent chemical analysis revealed that an outer bone layer covers triceratops horns. Further examination supports Happ’s hypothesis that this dinosaur’s horns also helped this large animal regulate its brain temperature.
Happ taught chemistry at Shenandoah University for 35 years, retiring as professor emeritus in 2007. For many years he served as chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Happ is the author of several scientific publications and two book chapters on dinosaurs. His research has been featured on the Discovery Channel and on television programs in Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Following Happ’s lecture, undergraduates in Shenandoah University’s science and mathematics programs will present the results of their research projects in an exhibition in the lobby outside Stimpson Auditorium. The students will be on hand to explain their work and answer questions.
The Warrington Science Series brings a nationally recognized speaker to Shenandoah University each spring. The College of Arts & Sciences’ natural sciences and mathematics departments offer undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry, environmental studies and mathematics. Undergraduate research projects are supervised by faculty mentors and supported by the University’s Warrington Endowment, private gifts and awards from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC).