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Source: Chuck Rice, 785-532-7217,
News release prepared by: Emily Vietti, 785-532-2535,

Monday, Oct. 11, 2010


MANHATTAN -- Science historian Naomi Oreskes will lecture and discuss her new book "Merchants of Doubt" on a tour across Kansas, stopping first at Kansas State University.

Oreskes' lecture, which is free and open to the public, is at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, in Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union. She will sign copies of her book after the lecture. The agronomy and geography departments are hosting the event.

Oreskes is one of the world's leading historians of science. Her research focuses on consensus and dissent in science. Her 2004 essay "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" was cited in the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" and led to op-ed pieces in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

In "Merchants of Doubt" Oreskes discusses how science can be misconstrued to create doubt. Her research highlights the disconnect between the state of scientific debate and the way it is presented in the mass media and perceived by the public. Specifically, Oreskes looks at public beliefs -- or disbelief -- about climate change.

"Climate change is about more than just increases in temperature," said K-State's Chuck Rice, university distinguished professor of soil microbiology. "It's about climate variability, including precipitation, which would have a great impact on Kansas if current projections are correct. Even with doubts about climate change, climate and weather are still important for Kansas agriculture and Kansas citizens."

Rice said that climate research is essential at K-State, citing two separate National Science Foundation grants that have created partnerships between K-State and other Kansas universities for climate change research and education.

After Oreskes' stop at K-State, she will be at the Kansas University Oct. 19, and Fort Hays State University Oct. 20. The three universities are collaborating to sponsor her visit.