The Future of Water

Examining Fracking, Environmental Contaminants, Seawater Desalination, Water Policy and More at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
October 12, 2012

Karla Strobel

Cambridge, Mass.—October 12, 2012—The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study’s science symposium, “Cloudy with a Chance of Solutions: The Future of Water,” will examine the science and policy of delivering clean water today and in the future.    

The Radcliffe Institute, Harvard’s institute for advanced study, will bring together environmental, chemical and civil engineers, public policy administrators, reproductive health experts, geneticists, and biologists at the symposium to focus on seawater desalination, the impact of fracking on drinking water, the ecological and public health hazards of environmental contaminants, advances in urban water conservation, and the roles of commercial interests and governmental policy. The symposium topics and speakers include:

The Future of Seawater Desalination | 9:15 AM
Menachem Elimelech, Roberto Goizueta Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University

Water as Part of the Solution to Renewable Biofuel, Not a Roadblock | 10:00 AM
Bruce E. Rittmann, Regents’ Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, and director, Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Arizona State University

Water is Not the Next Oil | 11:15 AM
Martin V. Melosi, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen University Professor of History and executive director of the Center for Public History, University of Houston

Impacts of Environmental Endocrine Disruptors and Other Emerging Contaminants on Fish and Fish Populations | 12:00 PM
Charles Tyler, Professor of Environmental Biology, deputy head of the School for Biosciences, and academic lead for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at Exeter, University of Exeter

Are Environmental Contaminants Affecting Your Reproductive Health? | 2:00 PM
Patricia Hunt, geneticist and Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor, School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University

Fracking Our Water: Emerging Threats to Drinking Water in an Age of Extreme Fossil Fuel Extraction | 2:45 PM
Sandra Steingraber, ecologist and author

Dealing with the Whole: The Need for National Water Policy | 4:00 PM
Gerald E. Galloway, Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and affiliate professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park

Introductions and framing remarks throughout the day feature Harvard University’s Joanna Aizenberg, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Wyss Institute; John Briscoe, Harvard Water Security Initiative; Peter Girguis, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology; Russ Hauser, School of Public Health; Tamarra James-Todd, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard Kennedy School; Peter Rogers, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Joan Ruderman,Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Harvard Medical School; and Chad Vecitis, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The live webcast, full schedule, and list of speakers are available at

WHEN: Friday, October 12, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM

WHERE: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Radcliffe Gymnasium, 10 Garden Street, Radcliffe Yard, Cambridge, MA

About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The Fellowship Program annually supports the work of 50 leading artists and scholars. Academic Ventures fosters collaborative research projects and sponsors lectures and conferences that engage scholars with the public. The Schlesinger Library documents the lives of American women of the past and present for the future, furthering the Institute’s commitment to women, gender, and society. Learn more about the people and programs of the Radcliffe Institute at


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