Lectures help bring science down to earth

Speakers focus on `Earth in the Balance' theme in lecture series' fourth year

The ever-popular Science First! lectures resume today with a lecture by John Robinson, director of the Sustainable Development Research Institute, which will explore climate change and sustainability. The hour-long session begins at 12:30 p.m. in Room 100 of the Wesbrook Building.

The lecture is the third in a series of nine talks with the theme "Earth in the Balance." The series focuses on global change and what humans are doing to the planet -- a timely topic given that a new millennium has barely begun.

"It is a compelling theme," says series co-organizer Tom Pedersen, a professor in Earth and Ocean Sciences. "We are witnessing global-scale changes that are human induced and it is high time that we understood them better so that we can work towards mitigating their impact. After all, good planets are hard to find."

Launched in the fall of 1996, the lunchtime lectures have grown in popularity each year with students and professors alike attending.

The series was conceived by Julyet Benbasat, former associate dean of Science and Zoology Assoc. Prof. Lee Gass as a means of getting students to rethink what it is about science that excites them the most. The lectures have stimulated students' appreciation for the breadth of science and the many options available at UBC.

Upcoming lectures include talks on the state of the earth's rivers and mountains and the effects of air pollution on the environment.

"The talks are designed for everyone--both arts and science students in all years," says Pedersen. "And the first two were outstanding. It is fair to say that the students were inspired by them."

The series continues every second Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

more information
Call 604-822-3336 or visit the Web site www.science.ubc.ca/new/scifirst/scifirst.html