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The Good News on Energy, Environment and Our Future

Headshot of Richard Alley

Richard Alley

The Annual Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture

by Aleksandra Syniec '18

Renowned geoscientist Richard Alley will present the annual Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture at Dickinson, “The Good News on Energy, Environment and Our Future,” on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium (ATS).

Alley is the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State University. His research focuses on great ice sheets in order to predict future changes in climate and sea levels. Previously, he conducted studies in Antarctica, Greenland and Alaska, and he has been elected into the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Foreign Membership of Britain’s Royal Society. Alley also participated in the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was the co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and provided advice to government officials including a U.S. vice president, the president’s science advisor and members of Congress. He was a presenter for the PBS TV miniseries on climate change, Earth: The Operators’ Manual, and wrote the book of the same title that inspired the series.

Alley explains that despite nearly 80 percent of humanity’s energy currently being generated by burning fossil fuels, the use of hydropower and other renewable energy sources is rapidly on the rise. He says there is hope that the current generation can build a new system of sustainable institutions while also strengthening the economy and providing new jobs around the world.  

The Joseph Priestley Award is presented in memory of Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen, to an individual who has made significant contributions to science and the welfare of humanity. Each year, a different science department is responsible for choosing the recipient. This year, the Department of Earth Sciences selected Alley for the award. Past recipients include famed astronomer Carl Sagan and numerous Nobel laureates.

The event is supported by Dickinson College’s Priestley Fund, sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of biology, chemistry, earth sciences, environmental studies, math & computer science, psychology and physics & astronomy.

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Published September 12, 2017