Morse B104
Morse Building
426 Van Buren St
Monterey, CA 93940
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Open to the Public

Dr. Richard (Rich) Wolfson, Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics and Adjunct Professor, Environmental Studies Program
Dr. Richard (Rich) Wolfson, Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics and Adjunct Professor, Environmental Studies Program

Each passing year brings greater certainty that Earth faces unprecedentedly rapid global climate change with deleterious impacts on human society and natural systems.

A just-released report (October 2018) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change brings the looming climate crunch into sharp focus. This talk will give the latest science-based answers to three questions: (1) Is Earth’s climate changing, and how do we know? (2) What causes climate change, and why are we confident in attributing recent climate change to human activities? (3) What can we expect in the future? Although science-based, the talk is aimed at a non-science audience.

About the Speaker

Richard Wolfson is Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics at Middlebury College, where he also teaches in the Environmental Studies Program and at the Middlebury Institute in Monterey. He did undergraduate work in physics and philosophy at MIT and Swarthmore.  He holds a master’s in environmental studies from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in physics from Dartmouth.  Wolfson’s research involves the Sun, climate change, and solar energy.  Other published work encompasses medical physics, plasma physics, electronics, nuclear issues, and astrophysics. His books Nuclear Choices: A Citizen’s Guide to Nuclear Technology and Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified exemplify Wolfson’s interest in making science accessible to non-scientists.  Textbooks include Essential University Physics and Energy, Environment, and Climate.  Wolfson has published in Scientific American and wrote for World Book Encyclopedia.  His video courses for The Teaching Company’s Great Courses series include Einstein’s Relativity and the Quantum Revolution, Physics in Your Life, Earth’s Changing Climate, Physics and Our Universe, and Understanding Modern Electronics.  He has lectured in the One-Day University and for Scientific American Travel.  Wolfson has spent sabbaticals at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, St. Andrews University, and Stanford University.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Suggested Reading

Summary for Policymakers of just-released (at time of this event) IPCC report: 2018 IPCC report with updates 2019

Lecture Location

The Morse Building is located at 426 Van Buren Street, Monterey, CA, 93940, on the campus of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. The Morse Building is a two-story, tan building hung with many international flags.  Participants should proceed up the walkway between the Morse building and the Student Services Building, and room B104 will be on the right, just past the first set of stairs.  There is a wheelchair accessible path by going around the Student Services building on the left side, and circling back to the Morse building.


Parking is available on Van Buren street with time limits.  Paid parking in a city lot is available on the corner of Franklin and Van Buren.  Free parking is available in the neighborhoods above Van Buren street. 


Contact Rachel Christopherson at the Center for the Blue Economy at or (831) 647-4183.