WALLA WALLA, Wash.— Established scientists and recent Ph.D. recipients will rub elbows and make connections across the disciplines and between the worlds of science and higher education at an upcoming symposium on climate change and its impacts, led and organized by Whitman’s Susan C. Weiler.
This symposium, which will be held at the Kilauea Military Camp at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, is the third in a series put together by Weiler, an Earth system scientist, and Ron Mitchell, a political scientist from Oregon State University. Dissertations Initiative for the Advancement of Climate-Change Research (DISCCRS) III, Sept. 8-15, will be funded by a National Science Foundation grant the two received in 2005 to facilitate communication between top established scientific minds and early career researchers.
The goal of this year’s symposium, said Weiler, is to forge collegial relationships across the borders of the natural and social sciences to link science with societal needs and to promote collaboration and communication between researchers who, in the past, didn’t know how to work together.
“Climate change is arguably the greatest threat confronting humanity,” says Weiler, “because it will fundamentally change the Earth’s support system. The traditional disciplinary approach to research and the isolation of the ivory towers from the ‘real world’ will not move us forward at the pace required to avert serious consequences.” Weiler and Mitchell hope the perspectives gained through the symposium will inspire and catalyze interdisciplinary perspectives and solutions to pressing global problems.
In addition to presenting their own research, the recent doctoral recipients will receive training and insights on team-building and communication from a cadre of specialists invited to train and inspire them as they begin their careers. Although most of the symposium is by invitation only, a public presentation will be made by Stephen H. Schneider, Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies professor at Stanford University. He will present “Global Warming: Can we define – let alone fix – ‘dangerous’ climate change?” on Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hilo Campus Center, University of Hawaii.
Peter Daniels, Kauhane Communications, Inc.
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Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service
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