Earth Sciences

How evolution shapes virus diversity: lessons learned from mosquitoes and shrews

In today's age of rapid environmental and human-wrought change, questions arise with respect to how biodiversity loss will affect the emergence of pathogens. SARS, avian influenza, and swine flu are high-profile examples of viruses whose distribution and diversity has changed in recent years to impact human health.

Dr. Bennett will demonstrate how the evolutionary ecology of mosquito-borne and zoonotic viruses drives their ongoing diversification in humans and other animals, with specific reference to dengue and hantaviruses.

Past Climate Change from the Tropics to the Poles: New Information from Corals and Sediment Cores

Much of what we know about the precise nature of "natural climate variability" comes from the study of geological and cryospheric archives of past climate. Cores from large coral colonies reveal sub-monthly changes in ocean conditions extending back several centuries while sediment cores from Antarctic waters tell us about past rapid changes in the Antarctic ice sheet. I'll provide an update on what is new in the world of past climate analysis and its relevance to the global warming debate.

Scott, Amundsen and Science: A 100th Anniversary Retrospective on Antarctic Science

Marking the 100th anniversary of teams led by Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott reaching the South Pole, science historian Edward Larson will reexamine their so-called Race to the Pole in light of their objectives. Amundsen and his men focused exclusively on reaching the pole and succeeded brilliantly. Scott and his men had multiple objectives, which included conducting a broad array of scientific research by teams of researchers that fanned out across the region. Larson will retell the story of these expeditions in context and contrast it with the conventional wisdom about them.

Earth science collaborative for ecological forecasting

There is increasing pressure on the science community not only to understand how recent and projected changes in climate are likely to impact our global environment and the natural resources on which we depend, but also to design solutions to mitigate or cope with the likely impacts. Responding to this multi-dimensional challenge requires new tools and research frameworks that assist scientists in collaborating to rapidly investigate complex, interdisciplinary science questions of critical societal importance.

Past Climate In Antarctica: Looking Back to Our Future

Carbon dioxide levels are predicted to rise during this century to levels not seen in 25 to 50 million years. Back during this time, the Earth changed from a generally ice-free ‘greenhouse world’ to a more much colder and heavily glaciated ‘icehouse world’. Dr. Pekar will provide an overview of Antarctic climate changes when CO2 levels were similar to what is predicted for this century and also provide some of early results from IODP Wilkes Land Expedition.

Living with a Star - dangerously

The sun “talks” to the Earth.  One channel, still poorly understood, involves the ionosphere. The ionosphere interacts magnetically with the solid Earth, reaching deep into the crust, generating forces that can trigger earthquakes. Before major earthquakes, the crust “talks” back to the ionosphere, causing perturbations. 

Construction on the 10,000 Year Clock Begins

20 years ago computer scientist Danny Hillis thought up a monument scale slow moving mechanical clock to serve as an icon to long-term thinking. 10 years ago a first prototype was completed and put into the Science Museum of London. 5 years ago the full size clock project began design. A few months ago that project began construction. Project manager Alexander Rose will discuss the process and methods underway in the Clock of the Long Now.

The Maunder Minimum: Astrophysical Connection to Climate Change

 The Maunder Minimum refers to an abrupt drop in solar luminosity of less than 1% during the mid-17th Century, which had profound impacts on global climate. We may be due for another solar "grand minimum" later this century. Dr. Lubin will discuss the implications of such a grand minimum during the era of anthropogenic global warming, and will also discuss astrophysical research efforts to determine how frequently a Maunder Minimum event occurs in nature. 

Marine Biodiversity and Pretty Pictures: A Report from Indonesia's Raja Ampat

 When SETI astronomer Mark Showalter is not looking up at Saturn and its rings, he prefers to spend his time looking down, preferably through the viewfinder of his underwater camera. Mark will present a slide show from his recent visit to Raja Ampat, a remote dive site in Indonesia recognized as having the highest marine biodiversity of any place on Earth. 

Apocolypse: Earthquakes, Archeology and the the Wrath of God

‘Earthquakes and Archaeology’ is an emerging field with impact on both earthquake science and archaeological and historical studies. It has been controversial as archaeologists and historians have traditionally rejected earthquakes as an important agent. But now with the advent of plate tectonics and modern instrumentation, this controversy is subsiding as we begin to offer answers to some key questions in both disciplines:


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