Past Lectures


Sonia Kreidenweis - "Clearing the Air: 25 Years of Visibility Observations in US National Parks ... And What They Tell Us About Our World"

A professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, Dr. Kreidenweis initiated the atmospheric chemistry program in the early 1990's. She holds a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Manhattan College, and master's of science and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. She has been interested in particles in the atmosphere for three decades. Her work has led to improved understanding of the role of particles in visibility reduction, and the chemical signatures in particle composition have also led to fascinating insights into their origins.


Chris Stringer - "The Origin of Our Species"

A research leader in human origins at the Natural History Museum London and a fellow of the Royal Society, Stinger received his Bachelor of Science in anthropology from University College London, and his Ph.D. and D.Sc. in anatomy from University of Bristol. He is the author of several books and is a recipient of many prestigious awards including the 2011 recipient of The Geological Society Coke Medal. In 2010 he was listed in The Times 100 most influential people in U.K. science and named honorary fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Stringer spoke about the division of human evolution into two main phases: A pre-human phase in Africa prior to 2 million years ago, where walking upright had evolved but many other characteristics were still essentially ape-like and a human phase, with an increase in both brain size and behavioral complexity, and an expansion from Africa.


Kerry Ressler - "Fear and its Inhibition: From Mice to Men"

Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland, spoke about the basic neural circuitry of fear and fear extinction. Ressler received his Bachelor of Science in molecular biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University and his M.D. from Harvard University School of Medicine.

His research examines neural plasticity modulators that regulate fear learning in amygdale, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex areas of the brain. In addition to considering convergent genetic approaches to understanding fear-related disorders, his talk also included information on how findings have been translated into new treatments for human fear-related disorders, including phobias, panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Edward O. Wilson - "The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth"

Edward O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and Harvard biologist presented a lecture titled “The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth”. Wilson discussed the future of the planet, suggesting that those of faith and science alike should be concerned about Earth’s welfare. He presented a way of thinking that incorporated both science and religion as part of the basis for human existence, and advocated both as integral schools of thought in preserving the planet. 

The celebrated professor of biology at Harvard University is one of the most highly respected scientists in the world today. Hailed as one of America's 25 Most Influential People by Time magazine, he has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for his books “Ants” and “On Human Nature.” He also edited the volume “Biodiversity,” which in 1988 introduced the term and launched worldwide attention to the subject. In 1984, with “Biophilia,” he introduced the concept of a genetically based tendency to affiliate and bond with parts of the natural world. His “The Diversity of Life” (1992), which brought together knowledge of the magnitude of biodiversity and the threats to it, had a major public impact. His most recent book, “The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth” (2006), concerns the survival of our planet, written in the form of an impassioned letter.

In addition to more than 20 books, Wilson has written more than 400 articles and received some 75 awards in international recognition for his contributions to science and humanity. For his conservation work, he has received the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society and the Gold Medal of the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Tyrone B. Hayes - "From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads & Men"

Tyrone Hayes, an internationally recognized scientist focusing on the role of steroid hormones in amphibian development and the influences that environmental changes have on their development, growth, and reproduction, presented a lecture at Susquehanna. He spoke about exposure to the herbicide atrazine and the critical impact that pesticides have on environmental health. Hayes holds an M.A. and B.A. in biology from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley.  He is the recipient of many awards including the Jennifer Altman Award for Integrity in Science, the Rachel Carson Memorial Award (Pesticide Action Network), the National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award and the President's Citation Award (American Institute of Biological Sciences).  Hayes currently serves on the Review Panel at the National Science Foundation.

Larry R. Squire - "Conscious and Unconscious Memory Systems of the Mammalian Brain"

Larry R. Squire, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, neurosciences and psychology at the University of California, San Diego, is recognized internationally for his research investigating the organization and neurological foundations of memory. His work has involved the study of neurological patients, neuro-imaging, nonhuman primates and rodents, and combines the traditions of cognitive science and neuroscience. His publications include more than 400 scientific research articles and two widely-read books Memory and Brain and Memory: From Mind to Molecules, with Eric Kandel. Squire’s presentation at Susquehanna considered how memory is not a single faculty of the mind but is composed of distinct systems. 


Tim Flannery – “The Weather Makers”

Tim Flannery, an internationally recognized scientist in the area of global climate change, presented a lecture at Susquehanna based on his New York Times bestselling book The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth. His book explores the connection between climate change, global warming and human activity. In his lecture, Flannery presented his plan for halting current warming trends and beginning the achievable project of reversing the damage that has been done.


Rita Colwell – “Climate, Infectious Disease and Human Health”

With a B.S. in bacteriology, an M.S. in genetics and a Ph.D. in oceanography, Rita Colwell focuses on global infectious diseases, water and health. A distinguished professor at both the University of Maryland at College Park and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Colwell has served as Director of the National Science Foundation and co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science. She is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world.  


Jared Diamond – “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”

Jared Diamond, professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. His lecture was based on his latest book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Diamond is universally regarded as one of the great minds of our time and has received numerous prestigious awards. In 1999, President Clinton bestowed the USA's highest civilian award in science, the National Medal of Science, for Diamond's landmark research and breakthrough discoveries in evolutionary biology. 


George F. R. Ellis – “The Emergence of Complexity and the Natures of Existence: How they relate to the Science and Religion Debate”

George F. R. Ellis, professor of applied mathematics and distinguished professor of complex systems at the University of Cape Town, presented a lecture titled "The Emergence of Complexity and the Natures of Existence: How they relate to the Science and Religion Debate."  His rigorous scientific research on cosmology has made him a trusted voice in the science and religion dialogue. He co-wrote The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with Stephen Hawking, debuting at a strategic moment in the development of General Relativity Theory. Ellis has distinguished himself by moving to bring the forces of science and religion together to the general benefit of both fields. His efforts to balance the rationality of evidence-based science with faith and hope has made him a key figure in the discussion at the boundaries of science and theology.


David Levy – “Mars, Comets and the Origin of Life”

Astronomer David Levy is credited with discovering 21 comets, including Shoemaker-Levy 9, the comet that collided with Jupiter in 1994. In his lecture Levy discussed the role Mars and comets played in the origin of life on Earth. Levy is the science editor for Parade magazine, a contributing editor for Sky and Telescope magazine and the host of a weekly radio show. He is the author or editor of 31 books and related products, and in 1998, won an Emmy as part of the writing team for the Discovery Channel documentary, "Three Minutes to Impact." 


Richard Alley – “Crazy Climate: A Historical View of Our Future”

Notable Penn State geologist Richard Alley presented a lecture at Susquehanna Alley's exploring the history of the Earth's climate and its abrupt changes through the eons. Using this historic perspective, he delved into the threats human activity poses to the climate. As the Evan Pugh professor of geosciences and associate of the EMS Environment Institute at Pennsylvania State University, Alley teaches and conducts research on the paleoclimatic records, dynamics and sedimentary deposits of large ice sheets as a means of understanding the climate system and its history, and projecting future changes in the climate and sea level. He has spent three field seasons in Antarctica and five in Greenland conducting research.

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