Dan Rather

Presidential Forum: A Return to Reason

Monday, 11 December    12:30 – 1:30 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – New Orleans Theater

Dan Rather is a veteran journalist who has covered national and international stories that have shaped our world, including the Civil Rights movement, the assassination of President Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the wars in Afghanistan, the Tienanmen Square uprising, 9/11, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the Haitian earthquake.

With a famed and storied career that has spanned more than six decades, Dan Rather has earned his place as one of the world’s best-known journalists. He has interviewed every president since Eisenhower and, over that time, personally covered almost every important dateline in the United States and around the world. Rather joined CBS News in 1962. He quickly rose through the ranks, and, in 1981, he assumed the position of Anchor and Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News, a post he held for 24 years. His reporting across the network helped turn 60 Minutes into an institution, launched 48 Hours as an innovative news magazine program, and shaped countless specials and documentaries.

Upon leaving CBS, Rather returned to the in-depth reporting he always loved, creating the Emmy Award–winning Dan Rather Reports on HDNet. Now, building upon that foundation, he is president and CEO of News and Guts, an independent production company he founded that specializes in high-quality nonfiction content across a range of traditional and digital distribution channels.


Special Keynote Panel

Why We Are Still In

Tuesday, 12 December    12:30 – 1:30 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – New Orleans Theater

AGU is facilitating a special plenary around the wearestillin.com movement, a response to a U.S. governmental decision to depart from the Paris Climate Accord. In a panel titled “Why We Are Still In”, chaired by Dr. Don Boesch, panelists from city governments and corporations will consider how organizations are maintaining their commitment to the objectives of the accord and what might be holding organizations back from signing on to the wearestillin.com initiatives. Panelists will also discuss perspectives on the challenges and opportunities this movement presents with respect to meaningful emissions reductions and symbolic showings of unity to make up for the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord by the US federal government.

Moderator: Dr. Don Boesch, Former President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

The Honorable James Brainard, Mayor of Carmel, Indiana – Mayor Jim Brainard is Carmel’s first six-term mayor. Mayor Brainard is frequently asked to speak around the world about city planning, climate change, redevelopment and roadway networks due to his proven passion and commitment in these areas. Learn more about Carmel and Mayor Brainard here.

Sra. Tanya Müller García, Secretary of the Environment, Mexico City – Secretary Müller has served as Director of Social Management of the Office of the Head of Government; and as Director of Urban Reforestation, Parks and Ciclovías of the Secretary of the Environment of the Government of the Federal District, where she was in charge of the programs of the Bike Mobility Strategy of Mexico City; the Ecobici Public Bicycle System; the Sunday Motevete Bike Program, as well as the works of decrees of Areas of Environmental Value (Urban Barrancas) and the Roofing Naturation Program. Learn more about Secretary Muller as the Secretary of the Environment of Mexico City here.

Invited – The Honorable Jeff Hebert, Deputy Mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana 

This post will be updated as more panelists are confirmed.

Special Performance by Baba Brinkman

This session will feature a special opening performance by “peer reviewed science rap artist” Baba Brinkman. Brinkman is a pioneer in the genre of “lit-hop”, an award-winning playwright, a former tree-planter who has personally planted more than one million trees, and a Friend of Darwin Award winner for his efforts to improve the public understanding of evolutionary biology.  His shows appeal to a wide spectrum of audiences, and he has received praise for his performance at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Click here to learn more about Brinkman and his Rap Guide to Climate Chaos.


Dr. Joanna Morgan

Frontiers of Geophysics Lecture
Chicxulub: The End of an Era

Wednesday, 13 December    12:30 – 1:30 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – New Orleans Theater

Dr. Joanna Morgan is a Professor of Geophysics at Imperial College London. She first became involved with Chicxulub when she co-led a seismic experiment across this impact structure in 1996 to map crater size and structure. Subsequently, she has been involved in the onshore drilling of Chicxulub, and running simulations of ejecta travelling around the globe, including its potential to ignite surface fires. She is part of the full-waveform inversion group at Imperial College, which has developed a 3D high-resolution imaging technique for the petroleum industry to improve images across reservoirs. Dr. Morgan has used this novel technology to obtain fine-scale images of the peak ring at Chicxulub and mid-ocean ridges, and is currently working on imaging magma storage beneath the Santorini volcano and the Hikurangi subduction zone.


Perspectives and Priorities on Earth and Space Science at Four U.S. Federal Agencies – NOAA, NASA, USGS, and NSF

Thursday, 14 December    9:00 – 10:00 AM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – La Nouvelle C

This panel of some of the highest ranking officials at U.S. science-based federal agencies – NASA, NSF, NOAA, and USGS – will present their views on the state of science at their agencies, their priorities for the near future, and how science will fare in an era of increasing budget pressures.

Thomas Zurbuchen (Invited), associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and professor of space science and aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan;

William Easterling, head of the Directorate for Geosciences at the National Science Foundation and dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania;

RDML Tim Gallaudet, USN Ret., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting NOAA Administrator in Washington, D.C.;

William H Werkheiser, acting director of the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia


Dr. Vaughan Turekian

Agency Lecture 
How a Geoscientist can Change the World

Thursday, 14 December    12:30 – 1:30 PM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – New Orleans Theater

Dr. Vaughan Turekian is the senior board director for sustainability programs at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, assuming the role in July 2017. Prior to this, he served as the fifth Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State. In this capacity, he advised the Secretary of State and other senior State Department officials on international environment, science, technology, and health matters affecting the foreign policy of the United States.

From 2016 to 2017, he served as a country co-chair, along with the Kenyan Ambassador to the United Nations, for the Multistakeholder Forum on Science Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, a high-level discussion at the United Nations designed to accelerate progress toward globally agreed upon development targets. He also established the Foreign Minsters’ Science and Technology Advisers Network, a first-of-its-kind initiative to bring together senior scientists from foreign ministries in developed and developing countries to address cutting-edge issues.

Dr. Turekian draws upon his background in atmospheric chemistry and policy experience to promote science, technology, and engineering as integral components of international relations.

Dr. Turekian was Chief International Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the founding director of the Director of AAAS’s Center for Science Diplomacy (2006–2015).

In this capacity, he worked to build bridges between nations based on shared scientific goals, placing special emphasis on regions where traditional political relationships are strained or do not exist. As founding Editor-in-Chief of Science & Diplomacy, an online quarterly publication, he published original policy pieces that have served to inform international science policy recommendations.

In addition, Turekian worked at the State Department as Special Assistant and Adviser to the Under Secretary for Global Affairs (2002–2006) on issues related to sustainable development, climate change, environment, energy, science, technology, and health. He also served as Program Director for the Committee on Global Change Research at the National Academy of Sciences (2000–2002), where he was study director for a White House report on climate change science (the 2001 Cicerone Report).

Dr. Turekian holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geophysics and International Studies from Yale University (1993) and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he used stable isotopes to trace the sources of and processes of aerosols in the marine boundary layer.