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March 6, 2013
Contact: Kevin Coburn, director of communications

Sophomore Plenary speaker is Dr. William H. Schlesinger

POULTNEY--Green Mountain College will welcome William Schlesinger to campus as the 2013 Visiting Scientist and Sophomore Plenary speaker on Tuesday, March 26. The plenary session is scheduled for 7 p.m., in Ackley Auditorium. The title of his address is “Climate Change: Causes, Impacts and What to Do.” All students, faculty, staff, and residents in the surrounding community are invited to attend.

Bill Schlesinger investigates chemical pools and fluxes in the Earth’s biosphere, and the environmental chemistry behind global change. Among the first to estimate the global pool of carbon in soils, he has led research on the influence of soils on atmospheric carbon dioxide. Similarly, he has estimated the influence of trees (through carbon storage in wood) on atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Few scientists today can match the intellectual and geographical breadth of Schlesinger’s research, from plant transpiration in the Chihuahuan Desert to the biogeochemistry of phosphorus in soils in Krakatau.

Schlesinger’s peer-reviewed publications number more than 200 and he has been featured in numerous media outlets including the New York Times, Scientific American, NOVA and CNN. Currently president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Schlesinger has served as the James B. Duke Professor of Biogeochemistry and the Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environmental and Earth Sciences at Duke University.

The sophomore plenary address is a high point each year in the College’s “Dimensions of Nature” class, where second year students explore the history and philosophy of science. In readings ranging from Aristotle and Galileo to Watson and Crick, students examine changes in prevailing models of the universe, approaches and methods of science, and relationships between science and society.

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