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Science in the Public Square: Conevery Bolton Valencius

Thursday, March 21 | 3:30 PM

Danforth University Center, 276
6475 Forsyth, St. Louis, Missouri 63130

Join us for a talk from Conevery Bolton Valencius, professor of history at Boston College. Presented by Science in the Public Square, a programmatic grant of the Incubator for Transdisciplinary Futures. What do the New Madrid earthquakes have to do with oil and gas? Fracking, earthquakes, and public science Will fracking cause a Big One along the New Madrid fault that will break the US in two? NO! But many scientific studies have shown connections between activities related to fracking and thousands of recent earthquakes in normally quiet parts of the U.S. In this talk, historian of science Conevery Bolton Valencius digs into the challenges that surround public discussion of science connecting earthquakes to oil and gas development. Economic and political pressures, scientific ways of talking about uncertainty and probability, and even alarmism related to past earthquakes have made it hard for local communities who have experienced earthquakes during the shale boom to figure out what was happening to them.

These challenges matter to people far from fracking rigs: knowing what to do about human-caused earthquakes is vital to our continuing energy choices and our efforts to fight the crisis of climate change.

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