UA Science Lecture Series to Focus on Climate Change

For the first time in the 10-year history of the popular series, UA students will have an opportunity to meet with the lecturers afterward.
Jan. 5, 2016
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The popular University of Arizona College of Science Lecture Series, which has played to capacity crowds throughout its 10-year history, will focus this year on climate change and its impact on the planet.

The 2016 series of six lectures, "Earth Transformed," will run from Jan. 25 through March 7. Lectures will begin at 7 p.m. in the UA’s Centennial Hall.

The series will kick off on Jan. 25 with "The Ocean’s Role in Climate: Heat and Carbon Uptake in the Anthropocene," a talk by Joellen Russell, an 1885 Society Distinguished Scholar and associate professor of geosciences in the UA College of Science.

The remainder of the series is as follows:

  • Feb. 1: David Battisti, Tamaki Endowed Chair and professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, will discuss "Climate Change and Global Food Security." Battisti will explore the impact of climate change and volatility on food production and availability in the future.
  • Feb. 8: Russell Monson, the Louise Foucar Marshall Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research in the UA College of Science, will lecture on "Ecosystem Resilience: Navigating Our Tenuous Connection to Nature." The talk will explore how recent trends in land use and climate warming have exposed vulnerabilities in the ecosystem and revealed the potential for surprising shifts.
  • Feb. 22: Kacey Ernst, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, will discuss "Climate Change and Human Health: Impacts and Pathways to Resilience." Climate change's impact on human health ranges from heat-related mortality during extreme heat events to infectious-disease transmission.
  • Feb. 29: Kimberly Ogden, professor of chemical and environmental engineering in the UA College of Engineering, will discuss "Carbon Sequestration: Can We Afford It?" In addition to examining carbon-capturing technologies, Ogden will discuss methods for reducing carbon emissions.
  • March 7: Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the UA Institute of the Environment, Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Professor of Science and Regents’ Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences in the UA College of Science, will talk on "The Changing Earth: It’s Not Just a New Normal," outlining what Arizona can do to adapt to climate change.

For the first time in the history of the series, students will have an opportunity to meet with the lecturers after the talks and discuss their research. These QA Science sessions will provide students with a firsthand look at how influential researchers think about the challenges of climate change.

UA students and faculty are invited to watch a live stream of the lectures and attend the QA Science series in the Environment and Natural Resources 2 building. The discussion, designed for students from all disciplines, will focus on the story behind the science and provide an engaging venue for asking questions and considering how to translate science into action.

The discussions with the lecturers will be led by Lisa Elfring, a member of the BIO5 Institute and associate professor of molecular and cellular biology and chemistry and biochemistry; John Pollard, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Ed Prather, associate professor of astronomy.

"The scientists who are lecturing in the series include award-winning teachers, and the QA Science student discussion series is being led by three faculty members who have won just about every major university teaching award," said Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the UA College of Science.

Each week's QA Science series will begin with a pre-lecture discussion at 6:30 p.m. in the Environment and Natural Resources 2 auditorium, followed by a live stream of the lecture at 7 and discussion immediately afterward with the speaker. Arizona Public Media On Demand will live stream each lecture.

Tucson Electric Power and Ventana Medical Systems are the presenting partners of the series.