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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2015 / 08 

Science historian Naomi Oreskes to visit Virginia Tech and Lyric Theatre Sept. 2

August 25, 2015

Naomi Oreskes
Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes, a world-renowned science historian who focuses on understanding scientific consensus and dissent in relation to environmental science, will visit Virginia Tech on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

She will give a 4 p.m. distinguished lecture entitled “Should We Trust Science? Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science” at the Lyric Theatre, followed by a question and answer period and book signing.

The event, coordinated by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program, is free and open to the public.

Oreskes is a professor of the history of science at Harvard University.  She has received international acclaim for her 2010 book, “Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming,” co-authored with Erik M. Conway, which was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Priced, received the 2011 Watson-Davis Prize from the History of Science Society, and was recently adapted into a documentary film.

Her 2014 book, The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, also co-written with Conway, looks back at the present from the year 2093.

For her 2004 essay in the journal Science, “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” Oreskes analyzed nearly 1,000 scientific journals to assess the level of consensus around climate change.  The paper has been widely cited, both in the United States and abroad, including in the Royal Society’s publication, “A Guide to Facts and Factors about Climate Change,” in the Academy-award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, and in Ian McEwan’s novel, Solar

Oreskes’ visit represents the second in a public Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech.  The lecture series brings some of the world’s leading scholars to the Blacksburg community to discuss critical environmental and societal issues in an open forum.

”We are extremely excited to welcome such an outstanding and respected scholar to the Blacksburg community,” said William A. Hopkins, director of the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and professor of fish and wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. “Dr. Oreskes’ work emphasizes the critical role that science plays in maintaining our quality of life, and reveals the disparity that sometimes exists between the state of the science and public perceptions about critical scientific issues.  Her lecture will discuss why these disparities exist, and demystify the process of scientific debate that can lead to scientific consensus.”

Other Virginia Tech sponsors of the event include the Office of Undergraduate Research, History department, Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Endowed Lecture Fund, Fralin Life Science Institute, the Graduate School, the Sustainable Nanotechnology Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program, and the Water INTERface Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program.

For more information about the event, please contact the Global Change Center at 231-5400 or visit their website.

The Lyric Theatre is located at 135 College Ave. in Blacksburg.  Doors will open at 3 p.m. the day of the event.  Metered parking is available on the street as well as in the Kent Square garage.  Anyone parking on the Virginia Tech campus needs a permit.

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