Environment theme of summer lecture series

Published June 19, 2014

“The Environment” is the theme of the eighth edition of the UBThisSummer Lecture Series, the annual summer series of talks by prominent UB faculty members.

The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. most Wednesdays, beginning June 5 and running through Aug. 7, in Agrusa Auditorium on the first floor of Davis Hall, North Campus.

There will be no lecture on July 3.

The lectures will showcase UB’s ongoing research pertaining to the environment, with topics ranging from global warming to the Great Lakes. The series also will highlight how researchers representing strategic strengths of the UB 2020 strategic plan approach the theme of the environment.

The schedule:

  • June 5: “Clean Air: How It Benefits the Young & Old,” Alan Lockwood, emeritus professor, Department of Neurology, Strategic Strength in Health & Wellness Across the Lifespan. Drawing on landmark studies linking major types and sources of air pollution to the leading causes of death in America, Lockwood will argue that cleaner air will improve health, control rising health care costs, and attack state and federal debt.
  • June 12: Extreme Events of the Environment: The Challenges of Understanding & Responding to Climate Change, Melting Glaciers, Sea Level Rise & Hurricanes,” Chris Renschler and Jason Briner, both associate professors, Department of Geography, Strategic Strength in Extreme Events: Mitigation and Response. Renschler and Briner will discuss the latest research in monitoring, modeling and managing changes to our environment, and the resilience of communities against related extreme events.
  • June 19: After the Flood: The Political Environment of Latin American Culture,” Justin Read, associate professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Strategic Strength in Cultures & Texts. Read will introduce the concept of “ecocriticism” in a discussion of his current research on modern Latin American literature, showing how authors gave meaning to Argentina and Brazil’s new urban environment in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • June 26: “How Climate Change Impacts Planning and Policymaking in WNY,” Himanshu Grover, assistant professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Strategic Strength in Civic Engagement & Public Policy. Although reliable data confirms the increasing rate of climate variability and change due to global warming, there remains a lack of attention to this issue in the field of environmental and development planning. Grover will discuss planning in the Buffalo-Niagara region and whether policymakers are sensitive to climate change and how it affects local decision-making.
  • July 10: Sustaining UB: Creating Resiliency in the Face of Global Challenges,” Ryan McPherson, chief sustainability officer
    UB Office of Sustainability. McPherson will discuss UB’s model of “sustainability,” which focuses on finding solutions to global challenges through research, education, setting the bar high for sustainability in the university’s own operations and partnering with the external community.
  • July 17: “An Environmental Disaster & Its Consequences: Oxygenation of the Planet & Iron Metabolism,” Daniel Kosman, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Strategic Strength in Molecular Recognition in Biological Systems and Bioinformatics. Kosman will explore the chemical landscape of oxygen and Iron—the body’s single most important nutrient—and how iron also can pose a threat.
  • July 24: “The Great Lakes Futures Project: Toward a Sustainable Future for the Great Lakes,” Joseph Atkinson, director, Great Lakes Program, and professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, and Kathryn Friedman, research associate professor of law and policy, UB Regional Institute, Strategic Strength in Civic Engagement and Public Policy. Atkinson and Friedman will look at the science and policy involved in a major bi-national initiative to ensure a sustainable future for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin, and make a case for an integrated approach to better understanding—and ultimately solving—issues impacting the basin.
  • July 31: “Nanomaterials for Solar Energy Conversion,” David Watson, associate professor, Department of Chemistry,Strategic Strength in Integrated Nanostructured Systems. Watson will discuss the unique properties of nanometer-scale materials and how those properties might be exploited to dramatically increase the efficiency of solar-energy conversion.
  • Aug. 7: “Computing, Data and Volcanoes: Using Simulations and Data to Manage Risk,” Abani Patra, professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Strategic Strength in Information & Computing Technology.Patra will discuss UB’s pioneering research in computational modeling technology that drastically enhances the ability to plan for previously unforeseeable events such as volcanic eruptions.

For further information, contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at 645-6145 or ubthissummerlectures@buffalo.edu, or visit the UBThisSummer website.