Engineering symposium to address sustainability

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John Carberry

An upcoming event will wed engineering and sustainability, as Cornell hosts a regional symposium of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

The symposium, "Toward a Sustainable Future," will take place in G-10 Biotechnology Building, May 16, 1 to 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public but registration is requested through the symposium's Web page.

The symposium features two sessions, "Energy, Environment, Infrastructure and Computational Sustainability" and "Social Responsibility/Equity, Economics, Population and Business." Each session features a moderator and three speakers. "Sustainability is most often characterized as a convergence of environmental, economic and equity issues," said conference organizer Norm Scott, professor of biological and environmental engineering. "We are trying to address those important elements of sustainability, which go beyond just environmental aspects. You can't make the system work if you don't also include economics and social responsibility."

Moderated by Lance Collins, dean of the College of Engineering, session one speakers include Jeff Tester, the Croll Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems in the College of Engineering, speaking about "Sustainable Energy -- Choosing Among Options When Everything Matters," and Carla Gomes, director of the Cornell Institute for Computational Sustainability, on "Computational Sustainability -- Computational Methods for a Sustainable Environment, Economy and Society," which addresses the relevance of computer science and the role that computational techniques play in the development of sustainable systems. Also, Thomas O'Rourke, the Thomas R. Briggs Professor in Engineering, will present "Critical Infrastructure, Hazards and Sustainability."

In session two, moderated by Scott, David Lee, professor of applied economics and management, will address "Sustainability: Economics, Environment and Equity"; Stuart Hart, a professor of management and the Samuel C. Johnson Chair in Sustainable Global Enterprise, whose presentation is prerecorded, will discuss "Driving Innovation From the Base of the Pyramid"; while Ronald Herring, professor of government, will tackle "What's Science Got to Do With It? Politics of Sustainability."

A public reception in the Biotechnology Building atrium will follow the sessions.

The event is co-sponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.


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Krishna Ramanujan