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Purdue professor to talk about science and society interactions

Posted: April 2nd, 2014

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Purdue University earth sciences professor Kenneth Ridgway will be at Lake Superior State University on Friday, April 4, to present a talk on interactions between science and society. The program is open to the public. Admission is free.

Ridgway’s program "Earth Science and Communities: Great Earthquakes to Wild Rice," begins at noon on Friday in room 207 of Crawford Hall. His presentation will appeal to general audiences.

“The connection between earth science and communities seems obvious to most scientists, but is much less clear to most communities,” Ridgway said. “In the first part of this talk, I will explore the geologic setting, the infrastructural damage, and the impact on communities of recent large earthquakes in Taiwan, Turkey, Haiti and Japan. Decisions that communities and governments made about these types of geologic hazards had a profound impact on human life and the built environment.


Kenneth Ridgway

“In addition, I will discuss how we at Purdue are building connections between the scientific community and Native American communities. The strongest connections are developed when Native American students do research on issues that are directly relevant to their tribal lands and communities. An understanding of earth processes is critical in decision-making both at the global and local community levels.”

Ridgway has been a faculty member in the Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Purdue since 1992. Much of his research is related to understanding the tectonic processes that occur along convergent plate boundaries. He has active field projects in Alaska, Argentina, and Oman.

He is the co-director of Purdue's Sloan Indigenous Graduate Program and is the recipient of the 2012 Geological Society of America Bromery Award, given to those who have made significant contributions to research in the geological sciences, or those who have been instrumental in opening the geoscience field to minorities.

He also received the 2012 Purdue Dreamer Award, given annually to an individual or organization within the Purdue community whose contributions embody Dr. Martin Luther King's vision of service to others and furthers the university's commitment to diversity.

On the day before his public presentation, Ridgway will be meeting with students during a noon-hour lunch on Thursday, April 3, at the LSSU Native American Center, when he will discuss academic and project funding opportunities for Native American students who are earning degrees in any of the sciences, math, technology, and/or engineering. Students interested in attending are welcome to drop in, but it would be helpful to RSVP by contacting Stephanie Sabatine, ssabatine@lssu.edu, 635-6664. -LSSU-

CONTACT: Tom Pink, 906-635-2315, tpink@lssu.edu; John Shibley, 635-2314, jshibley@lssu.edu; Prof. Paul Kelso, 635-2158, pkelso@lssu.edu


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