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1999-34 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 1999

From a View of Grand Canyon to a Vision of Science in the 21st Century -- John Firor to Give Walter Orr Roberts Distinguished Lecture

David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8611
Fax: (303) 497-8610
E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu

BOULDER -- John Firor, scientist, policy consultant, and community leader, will explore the relationship of science to society and the future of science in the next century in a public talk on Tuesday, October 19, 1999, at 5:00 p.m. in the Boulder Public Library Auditorium, 9th Street and Canyon Boulevard. A policy expert on climate change and on the sustainability of the earth, Firor will be introduced by Tim Wirth, former U.S. senator and current president of the United Nations Foundation.

Firor's talk, "From a View of Grand Canyon to a Vision of Science in the 21st Century," will use the lens of his 50-year career in physics and atmospheric science to examine the way scientists tackle problems of importance to humanity. "The country and the world face a number of big problems today, many of which have science at their core. The solution likely will be social or political changes, but to devise the cure we must get the science right," he says.

Firor has studied the structure of mountains in the Andes and solar eclipses in New Guinea, Kenya, and Brazil. He piloted a sailplane to gather measurements inside thunderstorms in Montana. "These and other experiences have shaped my views on the need for 21st-century science to focus on improving the health of our atmosphere and oceans, thereby preserving the health of future inhabitants of our planet," says Firor.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research invited Firor to present the Walter Orr Roberts Distinguished Lecture to honor Firor for his achievements in science and public policy. Roberts was the first president of UCAR and first director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

According to UCAR president Richard Anthes, "John Firor is recognized around the world as an expert on public policy issues related to climate change and sustainable development. The Roberts Lecture gives us the opportunity to honor him and to share his broad knowledge of significant issues with the public."

In 1961 Roberts invited Firor to head the High Altitude Observatory in the newly forming National Center for Atmospheric Research. Firor became NCAR's second director in 1968. He served as head of NCAR's Advanced Study Program from 1981 to 1996, and he is currently a senior research associate.

Firor is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Meteorological Society. His award-winning book, The Changing Atmosphere: A Global Challenge, has been translated into ten languages. He has chaired advisory committees for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Academy of Science, and the American Astronomical Society. Firor has been a board member of the Environmental Defense Fund, the World Resources Institute, and the International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Study. His community involvement has included serving as president of the Colorado Music Festival and of the Boulder County YMCA. He helped to create the Boulder County Healthy Communities Initiative.

NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation. NCAR is managed by UCAR, a consortium of more than 60 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmospheric and related sciences.

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The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is a not-for-profit university membership consortium which carries out programs to benefit the atmospheric, oceanic, and related sciences. Among other activites, UCAR operates the National Center for Atmospheric Research with National Science Foundation sponsorship.
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Last revised: Fri Apr 7 15:38:50 MDT 2000
Last revised: Fri Oct 15 11:33:13 MDT 1999