UF/IFAS to host renowned scientist for York-Malone Lecture on Nov. 2

Naomi Oreske

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Are vaccines safe? Is climate change real? As the keynote speaker for the 2015 York-Malone Distinguished Lecture, Naomi Oreskes, a renowned researcher who investigated decades of documents proving misrepresentation of truth to the American public, will explain why we should trust science in a world that is skeptical.

The lecture, “Should We Trust Science: Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science,” will be held at 3 p.m., Nov. 2 at the University of Florida Auditorium, 333 Newell Drive. The event is free and open to the public. A book signing with the author will take place at 2 p.m. in the University Auditorium lobby.

“Dr. Oreskes is a distinguished scholar and a courageous defender of science,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “We are pleased to host her on our campus.”

Oreskes, a Harvard University professor of the history of science, originally trained as a geologist. Her research focuses on consensus and dissent in science. She has won numerous prizes for her work, and has lectured widely in diverse venues ranging from the Madison, Wisconsin Civics Club to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

Her 2004 essay, “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” cited by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth,” led to op-ed pieces in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and to Congressional testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Oreskes’ research highlighted the disconnect between the state of scientific debate and the way it was being presented in the mass media and perceived by the American people. Teaming up with Erik Conway, her further research soon suggested that the reason we are all confused is that people have been trying to confuse us. The resulting book is “Merchants of Doubt,” which was made into a documentary.

Oreskes’s most recent works, “The Collapse of Western Civilization,” are a futuristic look into the world if no action is taken on climate change, and the introduction to Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate science and inequality, “On Care for Our Common Home.   

The York Distinguished Lecturer Series was established in 1984 by an endowment from Dr. and Mrs. E. T. York, Jr. Each year, at least one recognized leader is nominated by faculty and invited to campus. The Malone Distinguished Scholar Series Lecture series was created by a gift from Kevin and Jeannette Malone and supports bringing world class scholars to the University of Florida campus. Dr. Oreskes’ visit is a joint program supported by both funds.

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu