Energy, environment focus of 2019 McDonnell lecture

Richard Alley, of Pennsylvania State University, will deliver the McDonnell Distinguished Lecture, “Finding the Good News on Energy and Environment." (Image: Shutterstock)

Richard Alley, the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, will deliver the McDonnell Distinguished Lecture at Washington University in St. Louis.  Alley is the author of “Earth: The Operators’ Manual” and presenter and science adviser to the companion documentary series on PBS.


Alley’s lecture, titled “Finding the Good News on Energy and Environment,” will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in the Knight Executive Education and Conference Center, Room 200, on the Danforth Campus. Organized by the university’s McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, the event is free and open to the public.

People enjoy the benefits derived from energy usage, now generated mostly by burning fossil fuels, but the resulting pollution threatens to cause highly damaging climate changes.  Alley’s lecture will show how people can use their knowledge to find ways to build a larger economy as well as a cleaner environment — with more jobs, improved health and greater national security. He maintains that these actions will be more consistent with the Golden Rule, the principle of treating others as one wishes to be treated.

Alley also will present a more technical colloquium, titled “Falling Dominoes: Ice Sheets and Sea Level,” at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in Crow Hall, Room 201, on the Danforth Campus. This talk also is open to the public.

The McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, established in 1975 through a gift from aerospace pioneer James S. McDonnell, is a consortium of Washington University faculty, research staff and students, primarily from earth and planetary sciences and physics, both in Arts & Sciences. They are working on the cutting edge of space science research.

For more information, contact Jan Foster, assistant to the director of the McDonnell Center, at 314-935-5332 or

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