Gerhard Herzberg Lecture

The Herzberg Lectures are held annually in honour of Gerhard Herzberg, a former Chancellor of Carleton University and recipient of the 1971 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The lectures emphasize the relationship between science and society and seek to address an aspect of science which has a pronounced impact on our daily lives. 

The Herzberg Lectures are free and open to the public.

2016 Herzberg Lecture

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The world is faced with unprecedented threats to our aquatic ecosystems from excessive nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, caused by agricultural and urban runoff and discharges.

In addition carbon is increasing in our atmosphere leading to climate shifts and rising sea levels. In the meantime, it has been estimated that, on a global scale, we have lost half of our original wetlands, most of that loss in the 20th century. I am proposing here a significant increase in our wetland resources around the world, solving the diminishing wetland habitat loss problem, but with the strategic purpose of minimizing the excess phosphorus, nitrogen in our lakes, rivers and estuaries and sequestering carbon in our atmosphere, both in a sustainable fashion. Examples presented will include: 1. attempts to minimize phosphorus inflows to the Florida Everglades with wetlands to protect both the Florida Everglades and Florida’s coastlines; 2. a proposal to restore the Black Swamp in NW Ohio to minimize eutrophication of Lake Erie in the Laurentian Great Lakes; 3.
wetland and bottomland riparian forest restoration in the U.S. Midwest to mitigate a 15,000 km2 hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico: and 4. conservation and enhancement of tidal mangroves for their capacity to sequester carbon from the atmosphere with fewer emissions of methane than freshwater wetlands (blue carbon). 

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William Mitsch

William J. “Bill” Mitsch has been Eminent Scholar and Director, Everglades Wetland Research Park, and Juliet C. Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration at Florida Gulf Coast University in Naples Florida since 2012-13 academic year. His research and teaching have focused on wetland ecology and biogeochemistry, wetland creation and restoration, and ecological engineering. His hundreds of publications include five editions of the text/reference book Wetlands.


Hosted by the Faculty of Science and the Institute of Environmental Science
Parking is available in lots P6 and P18

Previous lectures, 2000-present

  • The Brain on Stress: Novel Epigenetic Mechanisms of Brain Plasticitye (2015)
    Dr. Bruce McEwen
    Alfred E Mirsky Professor and Head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory on Neuroendocrinology at the Rockefeller University
  • More Food, Smaller Footprint: Earth System Science and Biological Agriculture (2014)
    Dr. Gerald M. Ross
    Organic Farmer and Consultant in Farm Design, Maui, Hawaii
  • Must We Irradiate Food?
    Dr. Rick Holley, University of Manitoba
  • Shaken and Stirred: The Cost of Earthquakes and How Science Can Help (2011)
    Dr. John Cassidy
    Research Scienties, Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Head of the Earthquake Seismology Section
  • The Dynamic Brain: Adaptation, Changing Environments and Life Circumstances (2010)
    Dr. Anthony Phillips
    Scientific Director, CIHR's Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addition
  • Doing More Good than Harm: Building an Evidence Base for Environmental Policy and Practice (2009)
    Dr. Andrew Pullin
    Centre for Evidence-based Conservation
    University of Wales, Bangor, Wales
  • The Large Hadron Collider: Shedding Light On a Dark Universe (2008)
    Dr. Rolf-Dieter Heuer
    Director in Charge of High Energy Physics and Astroparticale Physics, Deutsche Elektronen-Synchrotron
  • Seeing and Feeling Nanotechnology: Plastics That Change Colour With Electricity and Pressure (2007)
    Dr. Geoffrey A. Ozin
    Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and Distinguished University Professor
  • Origami, Linkages, and Polyhedral: Folding with Algorithms (2006)
    Dr. Erik D. Demaine
    Associate Professor of Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • The Art of Research (2005)
    Dr. Ram Murty
    Professor and Queen Research Chair in Mathematics
  • Dinosaurs: The Cultural Icons of Science (2004)
    Dr. Philip Currie
    Head of the Dinosaur Research, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology
  • Fisheries Impact on Marine Ecosystems and Their Implication of Global Securities (2003)
    Dr. Daniel Pauly
    Professor of Fisheries, University of British Columbia
  • How Does the Sun Shine? (2001)
    Dr. John N Bahcall
    Institute for Advanced Study School of Natural Sciences, Princeton University
  • Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (2000)
    Dr. Steven Pinker
    Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology