Connecticut Valley Colloquium

November 8, 2012 - 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm (already occurred)

Mary Lou Zeeman, Bowdoin College, "Harnessing Mathematics for Climate and Sustainability"
Abstract: How are climate and sustainability applications shaping mathematics questions? What makes these research challenges different from other applications? One striking difference is the close connection with decision-making and policy. We will discuss some of the ways that modeling for decision support raises new mathematical challenges and opportunities. For example, a decision support view of bi-stability and critical thresholds leads to the concept of resilience: the ability of a system to withstand perturbation without tipping to a new state. We will illustrate these ideas with examples drawn from ecology, natural resources, climate, neuroscience, and more.
Mary Lou Zeeman is the Wells Johnson Professor of Mathematics at Bowdoin College. She received her PhD from U.C. Berkeley under the supervision of Moe Hirsch, worked at U.T. San Antonio for 15 years, and has held visiting positions at the IMA, MIT, U. Michigan and Cornell. Her research interests range from dynamical systems to population dynamics and fisheries, endocrinology, neuroscience, cell networks and climate science. Zeeman is also involved in several interdisciplinary initiatives focused on the health of the planet. She co-directs the Mathematics and Climate Research Network that links researchers across the US and beyond to develop the mathematics needed to better understand the earth's climate ( She helped found the Institute for Computational Sustainability based at Cornell University, and she is on the organizational team of the worldwide Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013 initiative (

Additional Info

Refreshments in Seeley Mudd 208 at 4:00. There will be a dinner (reservations required, Cost $20) following the talk in O'Connor Commons.

Contact Info

Ms. Anne W. Torrey
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