National Academy of Sciences Day Prize Lecture Series

Richard B. AlleyRichard B. Alley, the 2014 recipient of the Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship, presents the 2015 National Academy of Sciences Day Prize Lecture series on a variety of topics including climate change, energy, and the environment at locations throughout the United States.

Dr. Richard Alley (PhD 1987 in Geology from Wisconsin) is Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and Associate of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at The Pennsylvania State University.  He studies the great ice sheets to aid in prediction of future changes in climate and sea level, and has conducted three field seasons in Antarctica, eight in Greenland, and three in Alaska.  He has been honored for research, teaching, and service.  Dr. Alley has served on many advisory panels, including having chaired the National Research Council’s Panel on Abrupt Climate Change and participated in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which was co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), and has provided requested advice to numerous government officials in multiple administrations including a US Vice President, the President's Science Advisor, and committees and individual members of the US Senate and the House of Representatives.  He has authored or coauthored over 250 refereed scientific papers.  He was presenter for the PBS TV miniseries on climate and energy Earth: The Operators’ Manual, and author of the book.  His popular account of climate change and ice cores, The Two-Mile Time Machine, was Phi Beta Kappa’s science book of the year in 2001.  Dr. Alley is happily married with two grown daughters, two stay-at-home cats, a bicycle, and a pair of soccer cleats.

Related Links:

Watch Richard Alley discuss 4.6 Billion Years of Earth’s Climate History: The Role of CO2  

Schedule of Events:

October 14, Kent State University  
October 23, Tulane University  
November 10, Wilson College  
December 11, Weber State University  

Wednesday, October 14
Kent State University

Water in a Changing Climate: Finding the Good News
Megadroughts punctuated by increasingly destructive floods, coastal inundation from collapsing ice sheets, heat waves threatening any outdoor activities—the worst possibilities in a warming world are very dangerous.  But, we are the first generation ever that knows how to use existing technologies to build a sustainable energy system that will stabilize the climate, power the population, and give us extra power to improve our standard of living.  And, the full scholarship shows that we will be better off economically as well as environmentally if we start now to use the relevant science wisely. 

 

Friday, October 23
Tulane University

Doing Well by Doing Good: The full story on energy, the environment and our future
The full scholarship of climate change and energy shows that starting soon to take wise actions will lead to a larger economy with more jobs and greater national security in a cleaner environment more consistent with the Golden Rule.  We get great good from our use of energy, but our history shows that we have burned through one source after another more rapidly than nature produced more, and then faced grave difficulties while looking for alternatives.  We are burning fossil fuels roughly a million times faster than nature saved them for us, so a change is required.  Fortunately, we now know how to build a sustainable energy system in an economically as well as environmentally sound manner. 


Tuesday, November 10

Wilson College

Good News in the Greenhouse? The big picture on energy, the environment, and our future
The full scholarship of climate change and energy shows that starting soon to take wise actions will lead to a larger economy with more jobs and greater national security in a cleaner environment more consistent with the Golden Rule.  We get great good from our use of energy, but our history shows that we have burned through one source after another more rapidly than nature produced more, and then faced grave difficulties while looking for alternatives.  We are burning fossil fuels roughly a million times faster than nature saved them for us, so a change is required.  Fortunately, we now know how to build a sustainable energy system in an economically as well as environmentally sound manner.

Friday, December 11
Weber State University
(This lecture was not recorded.)

Abrupt Climate Change: Surprises in the Greenhouse?
The science of global warming includes real uncertainties, and that is really not good news; the challenges we face may be a little smaller, a little larger, or a lot larger than generally expected.  Rapidly changing the climate with our CO2 is highly unlikely to help us greatly, but we might trigger one of the many “tipping points” in physical, biological, and human-built systems that could produce highly damaging changes.  Fortunately, we know how to reduce the danger of unpleasant surprises, helping the economy and the environment.

Friday, December 11
Weber State University

The Good News About Energy, the Environment, and Our Future
Strong scholarship gives high confidence that wise use of our knowledge on energy will help the economy as well as the environment, while improving national security and honoring the Golden Rule.  Or, put differently, pretending that physics is a fraud will hurt the economy as well as the environment.  We are the first generation that knows how to build a sustainable energy system economically that will power everyone almost forever, with great opportunities.



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