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Dr. Ben Santer

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Fingerprinting the Climate System

How and why did the scientific community identify a human-caused warming signal and why do scientists believe that human-caused fingerprints are ubiquitous in the climate system? How do rainfall, water vapor, river runoff, snowpack depth, atmospheric circulation, salinity and other climate variables factor into the climate change conclusions by scientists? Dr. Ben Santer holds a Ph.D. in climatology and is a recipient of numerous national and international awards related to biological and environmental research. He will discuss the identification of a number of different climate variables that lead to the conclusion that climate change is related to human influence.

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Roger Bales

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Avoiding California’s Next Water Crisis

Are the Sierra Nevada headwaters drought resilient and what have we learned from the 2011-15 drought? Learn about sustainable water supply and actions that the state can take to adapt and provide a secure water future. Roger Bales, UC Merced and Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley has been active in water and climate-related research for 30 years. He understands how to develop and implement measures that adapt water supplies, critical ecosystems, and economy to the impacts of changing water supplies. He will discuss how infrastructure and institutions must work together to provide a secure water future and how changes in headwaters impact local groundwater sustainability.

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David Shoemaker

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Gravitational Waves- the New Cosmic Messenger

100 years ago Albert Einstein predicted in his general theory of relativity that there are ripples in space-time – gravitational waves. On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) successfully measured gravitational waves that were a result of the merger of two black holes. This event launched a new era of gravitational-wave astronomy. David Shoemaker served as Leader for the LIGO Project and is its Scientific Collaboration Spokesperson – elected to speak on behalf of gravitational wave science and affiliated scientists in 15 countries. The second observational period will end in Summer 2017. David will update on recent developments and the future for this avenue of research.

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Elisabeth Rosenthal

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An American Sickness: Healing our Health System

Why are American health costs 2-3 times more than elsewhere in the developed world? What are the challenges and threats that it faces today?

Elisabeth Rosenthal is the author of the best selling An American Sickness, a penetrating investigation into America’s healthcare system. She holds an MD from Harvard Medical, worked as an ER physician and for 22 years was an award-winning reporter at The New York Times – acclaimed for coverage of health and policy issues. Her presentation will show ways that America could make reforms in the delivery and financing of health care and how changes would affect us.

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David Vassar

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Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy: Why National Parks?

On the heels of the 2016 Centennial Celebration of the U.S.National Park Service, where did it all begin?  Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®-award winning writer and director, David Vassar will present and discuss clips from his films that feature Yosemite as the “Birthplace of the National Park idea” and highlight the loss of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in 1913 as the impetus for the creation of the National Park Service in 1916. He will discuss the historic context of each film clip. Vassar’s films focus on the natural world, parks and environmental issues. He also will offer personal and professional insight into the filmmaking process.

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