Nobel laureate to deliver 2010 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture

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Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, will present the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Dec. 10 in the Lincoln Room of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the Michigan State University (MSU) campus.

Recognized around the world for her groundbreaking research, teaching and scholarship on the complexity of human social and economic behavior, Ostrom is the Arthur F. Bentley professor of political science and senior research director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University. She received the Nobel Prize in 2009.

“Elinor Ostrom is one of the world’s leading scholars on economic governance, especially how common resources such as forests and water are managed,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, MAES researcher and MSU university distinguished professor of fisheries and wildlife, who holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability. He also is director of the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS). “Her pioneering work has shown that when these common properties are managed by users, the outcomes are better than what’s predicted by standard theories.”

Liu is known around the world for his work on environmental sustainability and complex relationship between human and natural systems and is the lead investigator of the International Network of Research on Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS-Net), funded by the National Science Foundation. Ostrom serves on the CHANS-Net Advisory Board and has collaborated with several faculty members at MSU, including Thomas Dietz, professor of sociology; Bill Taylor, MAES fisheries and wildlife researcher and MSU university distinguished professor; Bill McConnell, CSIS associate director; and Liu. She also will receive an honorary degree while on campus.

Ostrom’s lecture, “Institutional Robustness: How Institutional Arrangements Facilitate or Detract from Efforts to Sustain Ecological Systems,” is presented by CSIS and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

The lecture, which is open to the public, will begin at 10:30 a.m. and be followed by a reception.

The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Series is a platform for prominent scientists and scholars to share their ideas about global challenges and opportunities with MSU students, faculty and staff members, and the general public. Previous speakers have included William Clark, Harvey Brooks professor of international science, public policy and human development at Harvard University; Ruth DeFries, Denning professor of sustainable development at Columbia University; Simon Levin, Moffett professor of biology at Princeton University; Billie Lee Turner II, Gilbert F. White professor of environment and society at Arizona State University; and Peter Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The 2010 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture also is supported by CHANS-Net, the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.

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