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Sigma Xi Lecturer to Address Growing Need For Energy and Environmental Sustainability

September 25, 2008    

Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON — Kimberly A. Gray, Ph.D., an expert on natural and engineered environmental systems, will give the Third Annual Sigma Xi Distinguished Science Lecture at Mercer University on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 6:30 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the auditorium of Mercer’s Science and Engineering Building on the University's Macon campus. Dr. Gray will give a lecture titled “Energy and the Environment: The Central Challenge of Sustainability.”

The will be a reception in the lobby preceding the lecture in the Science and Engineering Building at 6 p.m., sponsored by Mercer’s chapter of the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Americans live far from being sustainable, using energy and resources to a greater extent than what we produce and what other countries use, argues Dr. Gray, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University. There is an urgent need to determine the near-term and long-term paths to a sustainable future in an integrated fashion if we are to protect future generations, the environment, and the economies of the world. Dr. Gray will focus her presentation on current energy consumption, environmental consequences and our scientific and technical understanding to alter our current course set hundreds of years ago as societies moved from subsistence agricultural to highly industrialized economies. Dr. Gray believes that a compelling case for sustainability can be made.

Dr. Gray, who also holds a secondary appointment in chemical and biological engineering, has been on the faculty of Northwestern University since 1995. Her research focuses on the development of photoactive materials for energy and environmental applications, and on the study of chemical fate in environmental systems.

Since 2003, she has been the director of the Environmental Science, Engineering and Policy Program at Northwestern. She was recognized as a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, was the 1998-99 president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, and was the associate director of one of the first three NSF Environmental Molecular Science Institutes in the U.S., Northwestern’s Institute of Environmental Catalysis, from 1998-2005. In 2007, she received the McCormick Excellence Award in Research, Teaching and Citizenship. She is also the author of over 60 scientific papers and lectures widely on energy and environmental issues.

About the Mercer Chapter of Sigma Xi:
Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, is a global honor society that recognizes scientific achievement. The Mercer University Chapter was established in 2005 and is the first in Central Georgia. The Mercer Chapter serves as the society chapter for the university and for all of Central Georgia. Sigma Xi is one of the oldest and largest non-profit scientific organizations in the world. It is the international honor society of scientists and engineers, with nearly 65,000 members in 100 countries, including more than 200 Nobel laureates.

About Phi Kappa Phi:
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society.  The Mercer University chapter, established in the 1980s, inducts the University's top students each year.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has more than 7,500 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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