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HMCSE Distinguished Lecture Series

The Hal Marcus of College of Science and Engineering (HMCSE) launched its first Great Minds Distinguished Lecture Series Spring 2018 with several notable speakers communicating the sciences with the community.

March 21, 2019 - Howard Kunreuther
A Risk Analysis Framework for Dealing with Climate Change Now

UWF Campus - 12:15 - 1:30 pm
Building 13, Room 230

There has been a growing interest in how decision makers deal with adverse events that can have catastrophic consequences in the face of climate change. Recent empirical evidence demonstrates that rather than using data from experts, residents in hazard-prone areas misperceive the risk and use simplified decision rules in dealing with low probability high consequence events. This session proposes a risk analysis and risk management framework for dealing with these extreme events. A behavioral risk audit is proposed for improving the decision-making process so individuals and communities have an interest in taking steps now to avoid or reduce the consequences of future hurricanes and flooding that very likely will be intensified due to climate change.

RSVP for the Kunreuther Campus Lecture

March 21, 2019 - Howard Kunreuther
Why We Are Underprepared for Climate Change and Ways to Remedy This Problem

Old Christ Church- 6:00 pm
Historic Pensacola, Fl
405 S Adams Street


We face challenges in dealing with potentially catastrophic events associated with climate change. Most individuals exhibit systematic biases so they do not think about investing in energy-efficient measures to reduce global warming or undertaking protective actions to reduce damage to their homes from future floods or hurricanes until after a disaster occurs. I will highlight why we ignore these risks and recommend communication strategies coupled with economic incentives so individuals will want to take steps now rather than waiting until it is too late to reduce the risks from climate change and adapt to its consequences.

RSVP for Kunreuther Downtown Lecture

March 22, 2019 - Howard Kunreuther
Flood Insurance as a Tool for Resilience: Workshop

IHMC- 9 am to 4 pm
40 S Alcaniz Street
Pensacola, Fl

In this all-day workshop, we bring together planners, floodplain managers, academics, and stakeholders from the insurance industry to discuss flood insurance and how it can be leveraged as a tool for the community- and household-level resilience despite a changing climate. Topics to be covered include:

  • Current and future flood risks in Florida
  • Reasons why household-level decision-makers do not carry flood insurance coverage
  • Flood coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) versus coverage from a private insurer
  • Linking mitigation with insurance
  • Increasing public awareness of flood risks and insurance

You must pre-register for this limited seating workshop. For more information contact Chasidy Hobbs


Howard Kunreuther's Bio

Howard Kunreuther is the James G. Dinan Professor of Decision Sciences and Public Policy, and Co-Director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Howard has a long-standing interest in ways that society can better manage low-probability, high-consequence events related to technological and natural hazards. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a distinguished fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, and recipient of the 2015 Shin Research Excellence Award from the Geneva Association and International Insurance Society (IIS) in recognition of his outstanding work on the role of public-private partnerships in mitigating and managing risks.

Howard recently served on the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC) under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He was a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 5th Assessment Report, Working Group III, Chapter 2, “Integrated Risk and Uncertainty Assessment of Climate Change Response Policies.” He is a co-author with Marilyn Montgomery on “Pricing storm surge risks and evaluating mitigation measures in Pensacola, Florida” in a project funded by the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) to study flood risk, flood insurance, and the linkages between risk-based flood insurance premiums, affordability, and mitigation. Howard’s recent books include “The Ostrich Paradox: Why We Underprepare for Disasters” with R.  Meyer (Wharton Digital Press), and “Insurance and Behavioral Economics: Improving Decisions in the "Most Misunderstood Industry” with M. Pauly and S. McMorrow (Cambridge University Press).

James Rea

March 8, 2018 - James Rea
Science Matters: On the Importance of Communicating Science to All

James Rea, Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Institute for Human Machine and Cognition (IHMC)
40 S Alcaniz Street, Downtown Pensacola

While research scientists recognize the importance of transferring knowledge out of labs and off campus, most struggle to share the excitement of their discoveries to non-academic audiences.  By using “clear, vivid, and engaging” language and communication methods, the public audience of citizens, media, and lifelong learners can better understand and actually use science to enrich and inform everyday life.

February 16, 2018 - Dr. Jyotika Vermani
XPRIZE: Incentivizing the Next Generation of Technology

Dr. Jyotica Virmani, Ocean XPRIZE
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Historic Museum of Commerce
201 E Zaragoza Street, Downtown Pensacola

Dr. Jyotika Virmani, the senior director of Planet & Environment at XPRIZE, shares the recognization of two significant moments that are currently upon us with profound implications for humanity. First, that individuals are rapidly becoming more empowered to invent and innovate using democratized technologies—e.g., AI, robotics, 3D printing, blockchain, sensors, bio-tech, big data, etc.—that only a few short decades ago were capabilities only afforded by large governments and big organizations. And second, that these individuals are getting digitally connected to one another across the globe, thus enabling the formation of small, powerful, and agile teams that are able to collaborate and innovate in ways we, the human race, have never experienced.

January 18, 2018 - Dr. Nathan Lewis
Where in the World Will Our Energy Come From?

Dr. Nathan Lewis, California Institute of Technology
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Historic Museum of Commerce
201 E Zaragoza Street, Downtown Pensacola

Dr. Nathan Lewis, George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry of the California Institute of Technology discusses ways energy can become more efficient. The modern heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems usually rely on a temperature measurement from a single location to control an entire building, or at least a large portion or zone of the building. More precise control of the system is required to improve user comfort and potentially reduce the power demands of HVAC systems. By designing a smarter control unit capable of utilizing an array of temperature and humidity sensors, the control unit directs valves to regulate air flow into or away from a zone thereby increasing personal comfort and reducing unneeded air conditioning to areas where the desired conditions have already been met. This project utilizes a Raspberry Pi microcontroller to receive data from the temperature sensors and relay commands to servo-controlled in-duct dampers, as well as stepper motor controller vent registers. The system was tested inside a multi-room demo home and was shown to provide an evener temperature distribution compared to the traditional single sensor/control system.

The Search for Water on Mars
Dr. Nadine Barlow
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Historic Museum of Commerce
201 E. Zaragoza St., Downtown Pensacola

The author of “Mars: An Introduction to its Interior, Surface and Atmosphere,” Barlow has researched impact craters on Mars, as well as the understanding of Mars’ climate history and Earth’s own climate, past and future. She is a member of multiple scientific societies, including the American Astronomical Society, Division for Planetary Sciences, American Geophysical Union, Planetology Section, Geological Society of America, Planetary Geology Division, International Astronomical Union, Sigma Xi and the Committee on Undergraduate Research.


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