The Beet Street Blog

Understanding Climate Change: It’s Simpler than You Think!

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One earth - well done - coming right up!

“When you add heat to things, they warm up.”

Dr. Scott Denning’s recipe for global warming may sound over-simplified, but he adds the extra ingredients of humor, enthusiasm and dance (dance!?) and shakes things up for this month’s Science Cafe.

“I want to reach people at their common sense level,” he explains with his own unique, accessible brand of science.

Upon reading his biography, I was admittedly intimidated by the many, many syllables in Dr. Denning’s area of research, but the CSU professor handily dispelled my fears of words such as biogeochemical. In fact, his specialty is talking global science to non-science audiences, including those of you in attendance at this week’s presentation at Avogadro’s Number.

He agrees that while global warming has become a hot-button topic, it’s simple to explain. The hard part is what can be done about it. That’s when the climate takes on a serious, sometimes scary, political nature.

Dr. Denning first studied geology before receiving his PhD in Atmospheric Science. He’s lived in Ft. Collins for the better part of three decades and joined the Atmospheric Science faculty at CSU in 1998. It’s there he formed a research group whose interests focus on energy, water, carbon dioxide and many more of those multi-syllabic terms that cause my head to hurt. So, imagine my amusement when the good professor himself proclaimed the research talk “boring” and scientists as often “arrogant.”

“My avocation is to bring the science of climate change to the people,” he said with humility and hilarity. He’s been busy spreading the word in a people-friendly manner to kids, museums, the web and more. Dr. Denning recently visited Mesa State College with CSU colleague John Calderazzo, another passionate educator and past Science Cafe speaker on the subject of climate.

Dr. Scott Denning

The professor promises an entertaining, engaging and fun evening with pictures, PowerPoint and possibly a jig. He is, after all, the star of the “Molecule Dance,” a visual example of his educational style. Check your dry expectations at the door this Wednesday, April 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. As always, Avo’s provides the venue and a menu for the Beet Street Science Cafe. Dr. Denning will provide the educational entertainment.

What about you – did you have a teacher who made learning fun?

Written by Susan Richards

April 12th, 2011 at 9:43 am

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