On September 2, 2015, the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech was pleased to welcome Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Harvard historian and author, for a Distinguished Lecture at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg. Her lecture, entitled “Should We Trust Science? Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science”, was followed by a question and answer period and book signing. The free event was coordinated by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and co-sponsored by a number of units from across campus.
Dr.Oreskes is a professor of the history of science at Harvard University. Her research and writing focuses on understanding scientific consensus and dissent in relation to environmental science. 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.
”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.”
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.
This story was adapted from a VT News release written by Lindsay Key