Science & Humanities Under the Dome Endowed Lecture: Science, Society & Sustainability

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Date: November 20, 2019
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Old Main #0209 | Map
4841 Cass
Detroit, MI 48201
Category: Lecture

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In this outreach talk Dr. Claudio Verani, Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean of Research for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at WSU examines how scientific and technologic knowledge enables society to grow and thrive in a planet that only recently became amenable to life. Remarkably, this same knowledge leads to several unwanted consequences when the need for sustainability is not taken into account.

He will start with a discussion of our cosmic neighborhood, and why the Earth is capable of harboring (self-described “intelligent”) life. He moves on to an examination of how the use of fossil fuels fostered the evolution of humankind to unprecedented levels, leading to a historic (and unsustainable) addiction to coal, oil, gas and plastic.

Dr. Verani then hypothesizes that three chemical processes, namely combustion, fertilization, and polymerization may be responsible for the demographic explosion that started at about the end of the 19th century. He compares this fast and uncontrolled proliferation of life to similar events associated with the collapse of thriving societies of the past, and traces a parallel to parasitic processes that undermine the health of the host.

Dr. Verani will conclude the talk with advances on the pursuit of sustainability, which serve as a glimpse of hope to future generations.

This lecture is the inaugural lecture in the Rita & Stanley Levy & Ratna & Vaman Naik Endowed Science & Humanities Under the Dome Lecture series.  This annual event links scientific research to pressing questions in the humanities.  Prior to the lecture there will be a small reception.  This event is free and open to the public.  Space is limited so an RSVP is required.


Megan McCullen




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