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Geology professor interviewed in “The Atlantic”

October 13, 2011

Geology Professor Rhawn Denniston was interviewed by The Atlantic for its recurring Nine and a Half Questions feature. The conversation covers his work at Cornell, his paleoclimatology research and the future of sustainable energy.

Denniston, who recently got a $98,000 National Science Foundation grant to study ancient weather patterns, also talks about the importance he places on teaching and his feels about the band “Rush.”

From the article:

What’s an idea you became fascinated with but that ended up taking you off track?

 Most scientists are constantly asking “what if?” For every idea of mine that leads somewhere productive, I have several ideas that lead nowhere.

 Who are three people or organizations that you would put in a Hall of Fame for your field?

 The study of climate change has been revolutionized several times. Wallace Broecker at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has been studying climate change for half a century and was one of the earliest advocates for the occurrence of rapid climate changes. James Hansen helped develop some of the earliest computer models. His work has been proven right time and time again, and he’s been a devoted advocate for clean energy. Finally, Al Gore is maligned by friends of mine on both sides of the political aisle, and I truly don’t understand why. It’s become vogue to demonize or mock this guy when, in fact, he’s done more to shake the American public by the lapels and get them to pay at least a little attention to arguably the single most important issue of our time.

What other field or occupation did you consider going into?

Despite my career studying with rocks, I spent a lot of time in the woods and streams of Missouri as a child and have a deep love for animals. The life of a field biologist has always intrigued me.

You can read the complete interview here.

For more information, please contact Cornell's Director of Media Relations

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