106th Distinguished Research Lecture 2014

Professor Peter Molnar of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, CIRES has been selected to present the 2013 Distinguished Research Lecture, an award that is among the highest honors bestowed by the faculty upon a faculty member at CU-Boulder.

Each year, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research requests nominations from faculty for this award, and a faculty review panel recommends one faculty member as a recipient. The lectureship honors a tenured faculty member widely recognized for a distinguished body of academic or creative achievement and prominence, as well as contributions to the educational and service missions of CU-Boulder.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research is pleased to announce that this year’s Distinguished Research Lecturer will be Professor Peter Molnar of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and the Department of Geological Science.  Few scientists have consistently tackled as a broad a spectrum of challenging problems in the physics of the Earth at such a fundamental level as Professor Molnar.  What distinguishes him from other leading Earth scientist is the remarkable range of tools that he brings to his work; his observational skills in seismology, tectonic physics, and geological field work, and his extensive theoretical abilities that allow contributions to understanding the related heat and mass transfer mechanisms in solid earth, the oceans and the atmosphere. Professor Molnar’s exemplary scholarship and service reflect the best the University has to offer.

This fall’s lecture title is “Did the emergence of Indonesian islands (the “Maritime Continent”) transform a warm world to one with recurring Ice Ages?” Professor Molnar will argue that when the Maritime continent arose from the sea 3 million years ago it transformed tropical climates, which then, due to prevailing atmospheric circulation patterns, led to the high latitude cooling over Canada that made the ice ages possible.