Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

All day
Before 01
CSTPR Noontime Seminar

CSTPR Noontime Seminar

Collaboration in Energy and Materials Sustainability
by Alan Hurd, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Abstract: While rigorous closed-loop sustainability in the consumption of materials and energy is impossible, we have an obligation to society to stretch our resources to the maximum extent. International collaboration is essential given the uneven distribution of resources, population, and human development.

Modern scientists know innately the importance of international collaboration for cracking a difficult research problem. However society often overlooks the diplomatic and economic value of international collaboration: Not only does collaboration build economies in mutual fashion, it decreases global tension. This concept is often called science diplomacy.

Among many examples where science diplomacy works or should work are critical materials whose supply is at risk, specifically helium of both isotopes and rare earth elements for energy applications. The relationships between geologic abundance, markets, and geopolitics that constrain supply are at least as complex as the physics and chemistry that make critical materials valuable and important. The economic spillover effect—in which collaborating nations both benefit in superlinear proportion than proceeding alone—fortify the argument for collaboration.

Alan Hurd is Deputy Director of the National Security Education Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he is in charge of the Lab’s academic collaborations. Recently he was a Franklin Fellow for the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of State serving Secretary Clinton and Secretary Kerry.  He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute and the Director of the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center at LANSCE.  Prior to Los Alamos, Hurd managed materials research at Sandia National Laboratories and taught physics at Brandeis University.

Hurd is a materials physicist whose interests include complex fluids and science policy in an international context, turning recently to matters of sustainability.  His research has been cited 6000 times and was awarded three research awards by the Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

While at Santa Fe Institute and Los Alamos National Laboratory, he served on the APS-MRS study panel on energy critical elements, which resulted in federal legislation signed by President Obama.  He serves on a current APS-MRS-ACS panel on the helium shortage that expects to publish in 2016.

Hurd is active in the scientific societies and non-profit organizations.  Currently he serves as the APS Chair of the Committee on International Scientific Affairs and as a member of the Development Committee.  He is Chair of the MRS Editorial Board of a new review journal on energy and sustainability and Chair of the MRS New Publication Products Subcommittee.  He is Vice Chair for ScienceCounts, a non-profit involved in science education and awareness for the public. For the MRS, Hurd has served in every elected office.  He was the 2007 President of the Materials Research Society, who honored him with the 1999 Woody Award and the 2004 MRS Special Recognition Award.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016
12:00pm to 1:00pm


CSTPR Conference Room, 1333 Grandview Avenue


Event Type

Environmental Program Seminar

Environmental Program Seminar

Genuine Wealth, Native Efforts at Sustainability

by Peter Weiss 

Peter studied art, political science and American studies at Marlboro College and earned a Diploma in Sculpture from the School of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. However, since 1979 his career has centered around photography. 

In 1982 Peter settled in Santa Fe and traveled and photographed extensively through the Southwest. 

In 1991, Peter joined the staff of Recursos de Santa Fe, a 501c3 non-profit that provided an umbrella for various cultural and art projects in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. They began to be asked to lead deep, specialized tours for groups from the Smithsonian and other institutions and he found himself a study leader and lecturer on a wide range of topics, mostly to do with the history of indigenous peoples in the area.

In 1997, Peter was asked to do the same in other parts of the world and began by leading tours to the Orinoco, meeting with the Warao on several trips there. He also began leading tours in the Pacific Northwest and along the Eastern Seaboard, lecturing primarily on pre-Columbian cultures from Nova Scotia to South Carolina.

Soon Peter began leading tours in Europe, North Africa, the Norwegian Arctic, West Africa and Japan. Everywhere he goes he is interested in indigenous communities and in Europe, for example, he has been spending more time with refugee groups and other immigrant communities to better understand their strategies for maintaining their cultures while adapting to new lives in often radically different environments.

Over the years Peter has come to view sustainability as adaptation. And as the world continues to change ever more quickly, adaptation is paramount for survival. Some cultures are thriving and others are becoming lost. His experience has given him a few small insights into what seems to work and what doesn’t.

RSVP to by Monday October 24th at Noon


Wednesday, October 26, 2016
12:00pm to 1:00pm


Sustainability, Energy & Environment Complex (SEEC) S372A/B


Lunch provided

Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar

Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar

Remote sensing of seasonal snow water equivalent: instruments of opportunity, systemic inertia, curiosity-driven science and future prospects

 by Dr. Richard Kelly - Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

The estimation of seasonal snow from space typically can be categorized into three variables of interest: snow presence, snow mass (or snow water equivalent, SWE) and snow wetness. The spectral signatures used to identify snow presence and snow wetness have a high contrast with non-snow surfaces that enable robust mapping of these variables for science and human applications. However, the recovery of satellite observation-based seasonal snow mass, or SWE, has been a more challenging aspiration of the snow remote sensing science community since 1978 when the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) instrument was launched. The objectives of SMMR, along with those of the more recent passive microwave instruments (SSMI, AMSR-E, AMSR2, etc.) typically do not consider SWE as a primary goal. Yet these instruments represent the most significant systems available for global long-term satellite SWE applications. While the signature physics of the microwave emission of snow at the local in situ scale is tractable, passive microwave snow emission signatures at the multi-kilometre satellite observation scales are complex on account of the mixing of spatially and time varying signatures across heterogenous snow-covered landscapes. Consequently, satellite passive microwave observing systems have offered tantalizing opportunities to estimate SWE and have succeeded in providing insights into dynamical snow-covered landscapes in some instances, but in other cases they struggle.  Yet arguably they have also contributed to systemic inertia in instrument science development; SWE is observable so why develop something new? Despite these impediments, the acknowledged value of these instruments of opportunity (the continuous passive microwave record is now 38 years long), and the absence of a dedicated global seasonal snow mission have impelled an increasing body of curiosity-driven and applied research into better understanding snow microphysics and landscape-scale distribution of SWE, and how snow interacts with active and passive visible-infrared and microwave radiation. This presentation provides a Canadian perspective on recent advances in knowledge from observation and modelling experiments in the microwave domain, and how future prospects for the satellite observation-based science can benefit.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016
11:00am to 12:00pm


RL-2 (on East Campus) room 155