The 45th Annual Nobel Conference

Posted on September 16th, 2009 by

Nobel 2009 Logo 2The 45th annual Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College, scheduled for Oct. 6-7, 2009, is titled H2O: Uncertain Resource and will focus on global issues surrounding water resources.

For more than four decades, Gustavus has organized and hosted the two-day Nobel Conference, which draws about 6,000 people to the college campus in St. Peter, Minn. The conference links a general audience, including high school students and teachers, with the world’s foremost scholars and researchers in discussion centered on contemporary issues relating to the natural and social sciences.

“This year’s conference should attract a broad audience because water is essential to all life and our supply of water is both finite and vulnerable,” conference chair Mark Bjelland said. “Water resources are bound to key socio-ecological issues including global population growth, migrations to arid regions, increased use of irrigation, industrialization, climate change, and international resource conflicts. This panel of world-renowned speakers will provide the Nobel Conference audience with an overview of water resources issues. They will help us understand the connections between these issues and everyday life in our country and around the world.”

The schedule for this year’s conference is as follows:

Tuesday, Oct. 6

  • 10:00 a.m.:  Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, Switzerland and Director General of the Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, India;
  • 1:00 p.m.: Nancy N. Rabalais, Executive Director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium;
  • 3:00 p.m.: David Sedlak, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley;
  • 8:15 p.m.: Shawn Otto, co-founder and CEO of Science Debate 2008; Screenwriter and co-producer of the movie House of Sand and Fog. (Schedule Change)

Wednesday, Oct. 7

  • 10 a.m.: Peter H. Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute, Oakland, Calif.;
  • 1:00 p.m.: Larry Rasmussen, Emeritus Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, New York City;
  • 3:00 p.m.: Asit Biswas, President of the Third World Centre for Water Management, Atizapan, Mexico;
  • 6:30 p.m (banquet): William L. Graf, Chair of the Department of Geography, University of South Carolina;

Complete biographies of each speaker are available online at

On Tuesday evening, individuals from Minnesota will address more local issues concerning water resources. Concurrent sessions at 6:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. will feature presentations by:

  • Lucinda B. Johnson, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth;
  • Steve Colman, professor of geological sciences and director, Large Lakes Observatory, University of Minnesota Duluth;
  • Ed Swain, Environmental Information & Reporting, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency;
  • Fred Rose, director of technology and strategy, Honeywell Technology Solutions, Acara Institute

Tickets for the conference are currently on sale and can be purchased by going online to Tickets can also be purchased by calling the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.

Individual reserved main floor seating tickets are sold out. Individual non-reserved seating tickets are $60. Tickets to the 6:30 p.m. banquet on Wednesday, Oct. 7 where William L. Graf will speak are $30. There will be free overflow seating to watch Graf’s lecture.

For those unable to attend the Nobel Conference, this year’s entire conference will be webcast live at

The Nobel Conference is the first ongoing education conference in the United States to have the official authorization of The Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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