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"Global Warming and Our Future" is Free Public Lecture on 2 February 2008

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"Global Warming and Our Future" is a free public lecture that will be given by Richard Alley , Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, on 2 February 2008. The event is the second of six lectures in the 2008 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, which has the theme this year of "Running on Empty?: Strategies for Our Energy Future." This free minicourse for the general public consists of six lectures concerning current research on various energy options and the environmental consequences of their use. No registration is required. The lectures take place on six consecutive Saturday mornings from 11:00 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

Alley will discuss why scientists are confident that our burning of oil, coal, and other fossil fuels will have large impacts on the Earth's climate and living things, including us, if we ignore the available cost-effective solutions. He will give historical examples of our behavior that have contributed to global warming, such as our shift to drilling for petroleum in response to the high cost of energy after whale-oil production peaked. Alley will show how the success of that first oil well helped to preserve the whales, but it now is contributing to global warming.

Alley's research goal is to understand the stability of ice sheets and glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland in order to predict future climate and sea level changes. His research program focuses on the climatic records, flow behavior, and sedimentary deposits associated with large ice sheets. His work has provided evidence that large, abrupt, global climate changes have occurred repeatedly in the Earth's history, and he has contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms that drive these changes. His fieldwork has included three seasons in Antarctica, eight in Greenland, and three in Alaska.

Alley has been awarded a Packard Fellowship, a Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Revelle Medal and the Horton Award of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Hydrology Section as well as Fellowship in the AGU, the Wilson Teaching Award and the Mitchell Innovative Teaching Award of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State's Faculty Scholar Medal in Science, the first Agassiz Medal of the European Geosciences Union's Cryospheric Section, and the Seligman Crystal of the International Glaciological Society.

Alley received his bachelor's degree in 1980 and his master's degree in 1983, both in geology from Ohio State University, and his doctoral degree in 1987 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Alley joined the faculty of Penn State in 1988 and was named Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences in 2000. He has served on a variety of advisory panels and steering committees for targeted research activities, the National Science Foundation, and professional societies including the congressionally mandated Antarctic External Review Panel and the Polar Research Board, and he has provided advice to numerous United States government officials in multiple administrations including a Vice President, the President's Science Advisor, and several committees and individual members of the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives. With over 170 refereed papers, Alley is recognized as a "highly cited" scientist. He is also the author of a popular book titled The Two-Mile Time Machine, which was selected as the science book of the year by Phi Beta Kappa in 2001.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science are a program of the Penn State Eberly College of Science that the college has provided annually since 1995. The 2008 series is sponsored jointly by the Eberly College of Science and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Financial support for the 2008 lectures is provided by a gift from the Chevron Corporation and by the Penn State Eberly College of Science.

For more information or access assistance, contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Public Information by telephone at (814) 863-0901, by e-mail at science@psu.edu , or on the Web at http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/frontiers/

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