11/11: Professor Rich Wolfson Presents “Nuclear Power: One Environmentalist’s Perspective”

November 2, 2009

On November 11, the ongoing Monterey/Middlebury Speaker Series will bring Middlebury College Professor Rich Wolfson to Monterey to present “Nuclear Power: One Environmentalist’s Perspective.” Professor Wolfson is Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics at Middlebury and also teaches in Middlebury’s Environmental Studies Program. His lecture will center on the argument that for an environmentalist, nuclear power is too complex for a simple “pro” or “anti” stance. Decidedly dangerous for reasons clearly understood, nuclear power nonetheless provides a significant fraction of the world’s electricity with minimal carbon emissions, and is one of only two long-proven, large-scale alternatives to fossil fuels for electric power generation. In his lecture, Professor Wolfson aims to present one environmentalist’s nuanced answer to the nuclear power dilemma.

Professor Wolfson did undergraduate work at MIT and Swarthmore College, graduating with a double major in physics and philosophy. He holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in physics from Dartmouth. His published work encompasses such diverse fields as medical physics, plasma physics, solar energy engineering, electronic circuit design, nuclear issues, observational astronomy, and theoretical astrophysics. His books Nuclear Choices: A Citizen’s Guide to Nuclear Technology (MIT Press, 1993) and Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified (W.W. Norton, 2003), exemplify his interest in making science accessible to nonscientists. Professor Wolfson has also published in Scientific American, writes for World Book Encyclopedia, and has produced three video courses for The Teaching Company, including Physics in Your Life (2004) and Earth’s Changing Climate (2007).

The lecture will take place on November 11 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in Room 100 of the McGowan Building at 411 Pacific Street, Monterey. The event is free and features limited public seating.


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