Contact Dan For Booking

Dan Riskin

You don’t have to be a scientist to get excited about science. You just need to get curious.

Evolutionary Biologist | Former Co-Host of Daily Planet

Contact Dan For Booking
Dan Riskin | Evolutionary Biologist | Former Co-Host of Daily Planet
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

To evolutionary biologist, TV host, and bestselling author Dan Riskin, picking his scientific focus was easy. “I had a crush on bats,” he says. “I thought they were cute!” Maybe you don’t share the sentiment, but there’s a strong chance that you feel passionate about something, and that passion can motivate you to expertise: in the sciences, education, or the action items of your 9-to-5. A charismatic speaker, Riskin will encourage you to nourish your own “crush” through curiosity and study—and to never apologize for it.  

Whether he’s explaining how nature is both a source of terror and beauty (as in the talk based on his bestselling book Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You), or how curiosity is a skill that can be fortified by stoking “childlike passion,” Dan Riskin is a speaker who gives audiences so much more than scientific “wow” facts. His talks will help you see your tastes, your interests, and all the things you find extraordinary, as sources of inspiration in your life. Passionate curiosity isn’t something bequeathed from on high—it’s in you to find, not unlike a wrinkle-faced bat, tucked away in a Venezuelan rainforest. 

 

Riskin is an evolutionary biologist, science broadcaster, author, and holds a PhD in the biomechanics of bats. His passionate love of science influences every aspect of his life, and informs every subject he speaks on. Best known as the host of Animal Planet’s hugely successful show about parasites, Monsters Inside Me, and of Discovery’s flagship science program, Daily Planet, Riskin makes science accessible, relevant, and deeply motivating to the layperson, showing audiences how they can develop their curiosity for the sciences (or anything else) on their own terms. 

 

A hilarious and charismatic television presence, Riskin is currently CTV ’s Science & Technology Specialist and has appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay LenoThe Late Late Show with Craig FergusonThe Dr. Oz ShowThe Doctors, CBS This Morning, and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon . 

Testimonials

“Few science communicators can match Dan Riskin’s wit, charm, and intellect. It’s rare to have a speaker with such a genuine infectious passion for what he does and such an innate ability to engage with his audience. Even three months later, our students are still talking about Dr. Riskin’s wonderful lectures and visit.”

Maria Armour, Curator BSU Natural History Collection

Speech Topics

Motivational
Having a Crush on Your Job How to Cultivate Passion in the Workplace

Finding your passion is usually easier said than done—but what if it’s just a matter of reframing our perspective? In this engaging talk, evolutionary biologist and Science TV host Dan Riskin explains how to overcome expectations of what you “should” do and go after your own curiosity. By looking at your own life as a source of inspiration, Riskin teaches us how to shift the question from “what do you love to do?” to “What do the things you love to do, bring out in you?” This small change in perspective can have transformational effects. With his signature wit and magnetism, coupled with scientific data, Riskin shows why cultivating curiosity is the key to living and working with passion.

Science
Strange Science Uncovering the Mysterious Ways of Mother Nature
 In his award-winning role as the host of Daily Planet, evolutionary biologist Dan Riskin explored scientific surprises and unsolved mysteries first-hand. From his work with vampire bats to his experience hosting a parasitic fly larvae, to visiting NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory during the touchdown of a Mars Lander, Riskin has a unique insight into the forces of Mother Nature. In this entertaining and educational talk, Riskin once again investigates the mysterious ways the world works. Exuding his trademark infectious enthusiasm, Riskin covers everything from the ordinary, the unusual, to the downright strange.
Science
Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You A Lively Tour Through the Dark Side of the Natural World
People love to think of nature as this kind force that wants to make you healthy, full of kale, herbal teas, and oxygen. But go hiking naked and it won’t take you long to realize that’s a bit of an absurd idea. From mosquitoes to poison ivy to venomous snails that can kill you in less than five minutes with a single sting, it’s pretty clear that what nature’s really good at is making your life hell. This talk is based on Dan Riskin’s bestselling book of the same title, which was also made into a one-hour documentary for Discovery Canada. In nature, animals torture one another all the time, like the maggot, injected into a paralyzed cockroach by an adult wasp, that eats the internal organs in the best order to keep the victim alive for as long as possible until it bursts out of its lifeless corpse as an adult (yes, exactly like the movie Aliens). It’s a fun talk – full of humor and gore – that reveals a coherent theme: If you pretend nature is benign, you’re turning a blind eye to some of the most remarkable parts of it. Nature is beautiful because it’s so ugly.
 
Grit at School
The Key to Great Teaching Is Passion It’s All About Curiosity
In science, we have to be unbiased about what the facts are, and seek them out impartially. But that’s not how our brains work. So once the science is done, and we’re teaching our results to others, we have to use a different strategy. The human brain evolved to pay attention to story, to suspense, and to surprise. The best teachers bring all this, and that determines how easy the material is to learn. In this talk, Dan Riskin draws on examples from his own education in biology—about his embarrassment that he didn’t care about the aspects of science he was “supposed to” care about, and the shame he felt about just loving bats for their cute faces and charismatic personalities. Riskin explains how he eventually came to embrace those motivations, and why he thinks they have become the key to his success as a scientist and science communicator. Being a scientist, though, Dan doesn’t just rely on his own experience to support his claim. He shows results from studies about the role adrenaline plays in the brain during learning—offering a biological mechanism by which finding your passion makes you a better learner, a better communicator, and can ultimately make life a whole lot more fun.