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Lee endowment enables Vic Antarctic lecture series

Lee endowment enables Antarctic lecture series at Victoria

World-renowned Stanford University scientist, Professor Robert Dunbar, will discuss Antarctica and climate change as the inaugural speaker in Victoria University’s S.T. Lee Lecture in Antarctic Studies.

Professor Dunbar, Associate Chair in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University, will present Antarctica and Climate Change in the Century Ahead – Causes, Consequences and Surprises.

Professor Dunbar’s presentation on August 8 is the first in a new lecture series at Victoria made possible by a NZ$150,000 endowment from Singaporean philanthropist Dr Seng Tee Lee, established through the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation.

Dr Lee has established important lecture series at academic institutions throughout the world, including Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard, spanning topics in humanities, military history, public policy and government.

The Victoria-based S.T. Lee Lecture in Antarctic Studies will cover environment and scientific research in Antarctica and is the first Lee lecture series in the Southern Hemisphere.

Professor Dunbar’s New Zealand visit has been organised by Peter Barrett, Professor of Geology at Victoria University and Director of the Antarctic Research Centre.

“We are very excited about Professor Dunbar’s visit, made possible through Dr Lee’s generous endowment,” says Professor Barrett. “He is a world leader in understanding the links between ocean and atmosphere from the tropics to the poles on time scales of hundreds to thousands of years, and has first class experience for placing Antarctic climate research in a global context.”

Professor Dunbar’s research interests include oceanography, climate dynamics and geochemistry. His research group works on topics related to global environmental change with an emphasis on the coastal ocean, air-sea interactions, and polar processes.

The group’s current work focuses on the impacts of climate change on Southern Ocean ecosystems. In doing so, likely future climate behaviour can be understood by studying sediment cores from fjords and shelf basins around the Antarctic margin.

Professor Dunbar’s week-long visit to New Zealand will include a field trip to the Pleistocene Milankovitch cycles in the Wanganui Basin; discussion groups and seminars with staff and students in the School of Earth Sciences; and meetings with the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences and the Ministry for the Environment’s Climate Change Office.

Professor Dunbar has further links with Victoria as a Visiting Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences in 1988.

Further background information on Dr Seng Tee Lee and Professor Dunbar – including a synopsis of his lecture – appears below.

Media are invited to attend the lecture on Friday, 8 August, Hunter Council Chamber, Level 2, Hunter Building at 4.15pm.

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