U of I Researchers to Address Apollo Program, Australian Fire Implications
January 21, 2020
MOSCOW, Idaho — Jan. 17, 2020 — The Malcolm Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium begins its spring series with two programs related to climate change.
Margrit von Braun, professor emerita of environmental science, will speak Tuesday, Jan. 21, about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing and lessons from space for Earth’s climate crisis. Three University of Idaho faculty members and a fire-safety expert from Avista will speak Thursday, Jan. 23, on Australia’s deadly bushfires and their significance for wildfire prevention and mitigation in the United States.
Both programs will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Whitewater Room of the Idaho Student Union Building (formerly the Idaho Commons), 875 S. Line St., Moscow. The presentations are free and open to the public.
Margrit is the daughter of Wernher von Braun, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the chief architect of the Saturn V that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the moon. During her presentation on Jan. 21, Margrit, who joined the U of I faculty in 1980, will share lessons from Apollo. Topics will include why and how humans got to the moon, how pollution and environmental health problems are connected to climate and how lessons learned from space and the Apollo mission can be applied to the current climate crisis.
On Jan. 23, John Abatzoglou, associate professor of geography, and Crystal Kolden, associate professor of forest, rangeland and fire sciences, will be joined by David James, wildfire resiliency planning manager for Avista. They will discuss Australia’s bushfires and their significance for wildfire prevention and mitigation in the U.S. Abatzoglou and Kolden conducted research last year in Australia based at the University of Tasmania. Tom Ptak, assistant professor of geography and a native of Australia, will moderate the discussion.
“The fires, which are still burning in Australia, have been horrific,” Ptak said, adding that damage to ecosystems and property, along with the death toll for humans and animals, is unprecedented. “We need to look at the situation in Australia, evaluate the potential for it to occur in the Western United States, particularly Idaho, and act before it’s too late.”
The Renfrew Colloquium, founded in 2001, is a weekly series of talks by U of I faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars about their teaching, research, creative activity or outreach. It honors the late Malcolm Renfrew, a longtime U of I faculty member, scientist and artist.
Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Media
About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu