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!

CAS MillerComm Lectures

iSEE has secured MillerComm Lectures as part of its outreach activities each academic year.

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 and Innovation, 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.


TWO Spring 2021 MillerComm Lectures (part of iSEE Congress)

As part of a virtual iSEE Congress in Spring 2021, CAS sponsored two MillerComm Lectures during Earth Week:

  • Noon Tuesday, April 20: Peter Gleick, Co-Founder of the Pacific Institute.

  • Noon Friday, April 23: Joan Rose, Nowlin Chair in Water Research, Michigan State University.

Read more about both speakers and the rest of the Congress events on our webpage >>>


Past MillerComm Lecturers

  • Fall 2019 — Natalie Kofler, Stuart L. and Nancy J. Levenick Resident Scholar in Sustainability Leadership at iSEE and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, “Editing Nature: Governance Hurdles and Ethical Holes in Genetic Engineering”
  • Spring 2019 — Jonathan Overpeck, Samuel A. Graham Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, “The Big Dry: New Drought Projections for the Southwest, Great Lakes, and Beyond” View the lecture >>>
  • 2018 — Michael Mann, Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC), “A Return to the Madhouse: Climate Change Denial in the Age of Trump”
  • 2017 — Kim Cobb, ADVANCE Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, on coral bleaching and dying reefs in the central Pacific.
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 Department of Atmospheric Sciences and iSEE. Past sponsors have also included the School of Chemical Sciences (SCS), the School of Earth, Society and Environment (SESE), and the Department of Chemistry. 

Keeling Lecture 2021

At 4 p.m. Monday, April 19, 2021, the annual lecture was delivered on a virtual platform by Alice Hill, the David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, D.C. View the video above!

Title: “Lessons from the Pandemic to Tackle the Climate Crisis”

Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the dangers of denying science and failing to prepare for catastrophic risk. As threat multipliers, pandemics and climate change have profound similarities. Both global crises threaten lives and livelihoods without regard for human-made borders. Just as with the coronavirus, the worsening impacts of climate change will force countries to grapple with economic upheaval, political instability, and threats to social welfare. Because of their many parallels, the world’s approach to combatting COVID-19 presents a crucial opportunity to assess how we can build resilience to a changing climate. Extracting lessons learned from the globe’s troubled pandemic response will be critical to identify the pivotal shifts society must undertake as it contends with escalating climate risk.

Bio: Hill’s work at CFR focuses on the risks, consequences, and responses associated with climate change. She previously served as special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council staff where she led the development of national policy to build resilience to catastrophic risks, including climate change and biological threats. Her co-authored book, Building a Resilient Tomorrow, was published in 2019. In 2020, Yale University and the Op-Ed Project awarded her the Public Voices Fellowship on the Climate Crisis. Hill’s new book, The Fight For Climate After COVID-19, will be published in Summer 2021.

This was an iSEE Certified Green Event!


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. Read an iSEE profile of Keeling and his legacy >>>


Past Keeling Lecturers

  • 2020 — Katharine Hayhoe, Endowed Professor in Public Policy and Public Law in the Public Administration program of the Department of Political Science and Co-Director of the Climate Center at Texas Tech University. Watch Hayhoe’s talk >>>
  • 2019 — Kerry Emanuel, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Watch Emanuel’s talk >>>
  • 2018 — Eban Goodstein, Director of the Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy and MBA in Sustainability program. Watch Goodstein’s talk >>>
  • 2017 — Illinois Atmospheric Sciences Professor Emeritus John E. Walsh, former Director of the NOAA/Alaska Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research. Watch Walsh’s talk >>>
  • 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 Field’s 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.
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.