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Lectures, Seminars, Symposia, & Colloquia

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) is a strong supporter of the University of Illinois’ educational mission — and that includes encouraging members of the campus community to attend lectures, seminars, symposia, and colloquia that will help them discuss and learn more about issues of sustainability, energy, and environment. This page features one-time talks and series of talks that promote that kind of learning. One example is the iSEE-hosted Charles David Keeling Lecture (see video). To check for individual events of interest, visit the Illinois Sustainability Calendar. Do you know of a series not listed here that would be of interest to iSEE website visitors? Please email us, and we’ll gladly consider adding it!

The Charles David Keeling Lecture

Named for Charles David Keeling, a 1948 graduate of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois who was renowned for making extremely precise measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), this annual lecture explores topics of anthropogenic climate change.

The Lecture is sponsored by the School of Chemical Sciences (SCS), the School of Earth, Society and Environment (SESE), the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at Illinois.


Keeling Lecture 2017

As part of Earth Week 2017 events organized by iSEE, Illinois Atmospheric Sciences Professor Emeritus John E. Walsh, former Director of the NOAA/Alaska Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research, delivered the 2017 Charles David Keeling Lecture on April 18 in the NCSA Auditorium.

Click to watch a video of the lecture on the left.






More About Keeling

Keeling photograph

Charles David Keeling

After receiving his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern in 1954, Keeling spent most of his career at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography until his death in 2005. As the first to confirm the accumulation of atmospheric CO2, he produced a data set now known widely as the Keeling Curve. To quote Charles Kennel, former Scripps Director, his measurements “are the single most important environmental data set taken in the 20th century.” Keeling also constructed one of the first models of the carbon cycle into which future man-made CO2 can be introduced to predict concentration levels in the air and water well into the next century. His first few years of measurements also demonstrated the now well-known seasonal cycle in atmospheric CO2 due to the “breathing” of the biosphere.



Past Keeling Lecturers

  • 2016 — Christopher B. Field, Founding Director of the Carnegie Science Department of Global Ecology and Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford University. Watch talk >>>
  • 2013 — Edward Maibach, Director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University
  • 2011 — Susan Solomon, Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado and an NOAA Scientist
  • 2010 — Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences and Chair of the National Research Council.
CAS MillerComm Earth Week Lecture

iSEE organized a series of events for Earth Week in April 2017 on the theme of the global impacts of climate change.

The Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosts the MillerComm Lecture Series each academic year, and the lectures are supported by the Office of the Chancellor, Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the George A. Miller Programs Committee and Peggy Harris Memorial Fund, The Council of Deans, The David Gottlieb Memorial Foundation, and The Graduate College.

Dr. Kim Cobb, ADVANCE Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, delivered a CAS MillerComm Lecture on April 20 at Spurlock Museum’s Knight Auditorium.

Cobb presented findings from recent field expeditions to Kiritimati Island that captured the extreme coral bleaching effects of the largest El Niño event ever recorded in the winter of 2015-16. Using a series of coral cores drilled from the modern reef, as well as a vast trove of fossil coral cores, to reconstruct a detailed history of El Niño activity in the central Pacific, Cobb described how climate change is contributing to severe coral bleaching and mortality. Coral has a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, microscopic algae that live in coral tissues, offer a primary food source for the coral, and give them their color. Higher ocean temperatures put stress on this symbiotic relationship, and the algae leave the coral tissue — meaning the coral loses its color and is weakened and susceptible to disease without its major food source. The studies at Kiritimati will help improve understanding of what life after death looks like for a coral reef, the factors that influence coral survival after extreme bleaching events, and ways to better protect reefs.

ISTC Sustainable Seminar Series

ISTC_horiz_cmyk_cs4Each semester, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute, puts on the Sustainability Seminar Series. ISTC’s goal is to offer “presentations by researchers, policy makers, and corporate executives on various topics related to sustainability, energy, and the environment. This series is an opportunity to share scientific research with peers in a relaxed, informal environment. Please feel free to bring a lunch. Seminars usually last about an hour and questions are welcome.” To read more about the Series and to see archives from past talks, visit the ISTC website. iSEE intends to post each scheduled event on the Illinois Sustainability Calendar.

International Food Security at Illinois (IFSI) Symposium

This full-day event sponsored by Food Security at Illinois (IFSI), highlights the unique capacities of the University of Illinois to improve food systems and help ensure that all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to achieve their human potential.

The 2017 symposium was April 3-4 at the ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center on the University of Illinois campus. “Commercial Agriculture in the Tropical Environments” addressed the complex tradeoffs between environmental stewardship and agricultural intensification in the tropics. More info on the event here.

Read more about this event and see past presentations on the College of ACES Office of International Programs’ website.