Associate Professor Wally Fulweiler will join The Undiscovered, a Radcliffe Institute science symposium that will focus on how scientists explore realities they cannot anticipate. Speakers from across the disciplines of modern science will present personal experiences and discuss how to train scientists, educators, and funders to foster the expertise and open-mindedness needed to reveal undiscovered aspects of the world around us.
Friday, October 26, 9 AM–5 PM
10 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, sometimes luck favors the prepared mind, as when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by noticing that mold growing accidentally in his lab seemed to kill bacteria. At other times, new instruments offer unanticipated revelations: Galileo trained his telescope on Jupiter and found it to have moons. And, occasionally, methodical experiments find exactly the opposite of what they sought to prove. Scientists intending to measure the deceleration of the Universe’s expansion, for example, found acceleration instead.
On September 27 Associate Professor Mike Dietze will deliver the Distinguished Lecture for the National Science Foundation, hosted by the Directorate for Biological Sciences and Division of Biological Infrastructure. His talk is entitled “Solving the Challenge of Predicting Nature: How Close Are We and How Do We Get There.”
Is nature predictable? If so, how can we better manage and conserve ecosystems? Near-term ecological forecasting is an emerging interdisciplinary research area that aims to improve researchers’ ability to predict ecological processes on timescales that can be validated and updated.
Professor Dietze will discuss the challenges and opportunities in near-term ecological forecasting, which span advances in environmental monitoring, statistics and cyberinfrastructure. He will present a framework to understand the predictability of ecological processes and highlight ongoing efforts to build an ecological forecasting community of practice.
Professor Dietze will address the current state of and potential for developing forecasts for a wide range of ecological processes, including:
- Vegetation phenology and land-surface fluxes
- Ticks, tick-borne disease and small mammal hosts
- Soil microbiome
- Aquatic productivity and algal blooms
- Advancing statistical and informatic tools for ecological forecasting.
Come to the planning meeting for an interdisciplinary research and reading group provisionally titled Cultures of Science.
We are casting a wide net, including: history of science and medicine, science and technology studies (STS), philosophy of science; Indigenous Traditional Knowledge; medical humanities; literature, sciences and the arts; environmental humanities; bioethics. Faculty, graduate students, and researchers from the full range of science, humanities, and social science disciplines are welcome.
The goal is to generate collaboration and conversation about pressing issues at the science/culture interchange, starting with a series of faculty-led workshops on recent compelling research that colleagues are engaging with and would like to open up to wider, crossdisciplinary discussion and critique. Rather than presenting formal talks or works in progress, the aim is to generate discussion across and outside our comfort zones, methodologies, and usual spheres of circulation.
Come and share suggestions for readings/topics, questions, lab visits, possible future invited speakers, or just to meet colleagues interested in science studies broadly conceived. Bring your lunch (if you like) and drop in when you can.
Tuesday Sept. 18, 12-2PM in CAS 132
Questions/ideas: Adriana Craciun, Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Chair of Humanities, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Professor Mike Dietze hosts “Solving the Challenge of Predicting Nature: How Close Are We and How Do We Get There?” as part of NOAA’s National Ocean Service Science Seminar Series.
Wednesday, September 12, 12-1PM EDT
Is nature predictable? If so, can we use that understanding to better manage and conserve ecosystems? Near-term ecological forecasting is an emerging interdisciplinary research area that aims to improve our ability to predict ecological processes on timescales that can be meaningfully validated and iteratively updated. In this talk I argue that near-term forecasting is a win-win for accelerating basic science and making it more relevant to society. I will focus on the challenges and opportunities in this field, spanning advances in environmental monitoring, statistics, and cyberinfrastructure. I will present a first-principles framework for understanding the predictability of ecological processes and synthesizing this understanding across different systems. Finally, I will highlight ongoing efforts to build an ecological forecasting community of practice.
Access: Mymeeting webinar uses phone for and internet. Audio is only available over the phone: dial toll-free from US or CAN:1-877-708-1667. Enter code 7028688# Skype sometimes works with a good connection. For the webcast, go to www.mymeetings.com Under “Participant Join,” click “Join an Event,” then add conference number 744925156. No passcode is needed for the web. Be sure to install the correct plug‐in for WebEx when logging on – the temporary webex application works fine.
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Join us on Thursday, October 11, for the Environmental Career Fair! Learn about employment and internship opportunities from local and national organizations working to protect the environment. Attending companies include Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER), Energy Federation Inc. (EFI), ESRI, NASA DEVELOP, NE Interstate Water Pollution Control (NEIWPCC), Sustainserv, Toxics Action Center, United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Thursday, October 11, 11AM-3PM
George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Avenue, Metcalf Ballroom (2nd floor)
Leveraging Universities for Advancing State & Local Energy Policy
August 6, Noon ET
Presented by Richard Reibstein
Earth & Environment Lecturer Rick Reibstein has recently created GE 532 Research for Environmental Agencies & Organizations, in which students perform discrete research tasks for government and nonprofit groups on environmental and public health matters. The course has proven to be a great way to supplement scarce agency and NGO resources and produce work useful to the clients, the students, and the public. He will discuss student projects that involved energy, including:
- Examining the potential for community solar to clean up waste sites;
- The implementation of community choice aggregation;
- The optimal placement of EV charging stations.
For those who might wish to consider replicating this approach, the conversation will cover how the course is conducted:
- How research tasks are identified and selected;
- The role of the course instructor in ensuring quality of product;
- The team relationship and independent student work;
- Contacts with relevant staff and experts.
Reception of student work has been enthusiastically positive in nearly all cases. Agencies and organizations use the class for research they don’t have the time to perform. Students learn about real world issues, make contacts and gain insight into how government works and experience that helps them get jobs. The work is made publicly available for anyone to use, at www.bu.edu/rccp. Some projects continue from semester to semester and some students have stayed with the class for successive terms working on the same or related projects. For example, one student evaluated tree retention policies for the state (these were for municipalities to implement), and in the next semester participated in a team that looked at getting carbon credits for forest conservation – both efforts should be considered as opportunities for carbon sequestration and part of a climate change mitigation strategy.
On Monday, June 18, Associate Professor Lucy Hutyra will join the Boston City Council in a special hearing to discuss and assess the amount and quality of tree covering in the city. The hearing comes on the heels of Boston Globe coverage: “While Boston has challenges that some other cities lack, such as densely populated neighborhoods and limited amounts of open space, its tree canopy lags behind most other cities.”
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Since 2010 environmental conference organizer Jen Boudrie has brought hundreds of people together at the premiere event in Massachusetts for environmental experts, professionals, activists, officials and academics. At this year’s conference in Plymouth Harbor, three BU students presented their work in the class Research for Environmental Agencies & Organizations (GE 532). Samantha Morton researched how to promote the retention of trees for state conservation officials, and with others provided a review of the scientific literature on the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees to the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Bolaji Olateru-Olagbegi presented her project for the Boston Public Health Commission, investigating whether health providers understand that some of the symptoms they see might be caused by toxic exposures, and with Katharina Voehler explained the work their team performed for the City of Boston on Community Choice Aggregation – bulk purchasing of energy for residents that can be used to promote cleaner energy (and local generation of cleaner energy). Instructor Rick Reibstein also presented at the conference on the history and future of clean water, including water quality data analyses that Alex Kerr and Michael Silano conducted for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
If you’re thinking about environmental issues and wondering how you can make a difference, come hear some interesting examples from students in the directed study course Research for Environmental Agencies & Organizations (GE 532).
Thursday, April 26th
Pizza will be served.
- The MA Department of Environmental Protection think about different ways to ANALYZE WATER QUALITY DATA TO DISCERN TRENDS
- Staff of the relevant legislative committees to SEE THE VALUE IN USING COMMUNITY SOLAR FOR WASTE SITE CLEANUP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE NEIGHBORHOODS AND TO PROVIDE SOLAR IN LOW INCOME AREAS
- Conduct a PUBLIC CONVERSATION ON WHAT TO DO TO PREVENT LEAD POISONING
- The Boston Public Health Commission consider HOW TO RAISE THE AWARENESS OF MEDICAL PROVIDERS CONCERNING EXPOSURE TO TOXICS AS A POTENTIAL CAUSE OF THE SYMPTOMS THEY IDENTIFY
For further information contact Rick Reibstein at email@example.com.
Please join the BU Marine Program for our annual Lang Lecture. This year Stephen Palumbi will speak about climate change adaptations among marine organisms.
Climate Change Adaptations of Wild Populations from Corals to Fish: The Power of Deep Genomics
April 19, 6:00 PM
BU Law Auditorium, 765 Commonwealth Ave.
Steve Palumbi is the Director of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, Professor in Marine Sciences and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Steve has long been fascinated by how quickly the world around us changes. Work on the genomics of marine organisms tries to focus on basic evolutionary questions but also on practical solutions to questions about how to preserve and protect the diverse life in the sea. Steve has lectured extensively on human-induced evolutionary change, has used genetic detective work to identify whales, seahorses, rockfish and sharks for sale in retail markets, and is developing genomic methods to help find ocean species resistant to climate change. Work on corals in American Samoa has identified populations more resilient to heat stress. Work at the Hopkins Marine Station focuses on how sea urchins, abalone and mussels respond to short term environmental changes and to environmental shifts over small spatial scales.
Can’t make it to the talk? See the livestream here.