Nathan Phillips

About the Distinguished Lecture Series

Instituted in 2009, ESPP’s Distinguished Lecture Series seeks to engage world class researchers, policy makers and practitioners with the MSU environmental research and education community. Distinguished Lecture speakers give a public lecture on an interdisciplinary topic and interact with MSU faculty and students. The Series is designed to provide an important interface between MSU and global leaders working on cutting-edge environmental issues. An important function of the Series is to facilitate interactions among MSU researchers from diverse fields to address issues that cross disciplinary boundaries.

In 2014, ESPP expanded its Distinguished Lecture Series to include events organized jointly with other units at MSU. ESPP is offering to partner with individual departments and units at MSU wherein ESPP co-sponsors a limited number of visits by distinguished scholars to deliver lectures on pressing environmental issues. For more information and criteria, please see thisĀ PDF.


Thursday April 28, 2016
Kellogg Center, Michigan State University


Dr. Nathan Phillips, Professor of Earth and Environment, Boston University

Dr. Phillips focuses his research on the relationship between water, carbon, and energy exchanges between the plants/ecosystems and the environment, particularly regarding environmental change. His work discovering methane leaks in Boston and in California has been widely published.

   Engineers and ecologists have long recognized a tradeoff between efficiency and resilience in natural and engineered systems. Our city infrastructure has primarily been built around efficiency maximization, and this has led to vulnerabilities and failures, often borne by our most vulnerable communities. In this talk I will discuss experiences from leaking gas and water pipelines in Boston to the catastrophic failure of a natural gas well on which Los Angeles depends to critique our current way of building fossil-fuel-based resource infrastructure and what a more resilient and efficient infrastructure would look like in the age of climate change consequences.

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