Watson Lecture on January 18: Claire Bucholz on the Fascinating Story of Earth's Oxygen
On Wednesday, January 18, at 7:30 p.m. PT in Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus, Claire E. Bucholz, Caltech assistant professor of geology and this year's Biedebach Memorial Lecturer, will continue the 100th anniversary season of the Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series with "When Earth Breathed Deeply."
Earth's climate has not been constant throughout history. Oxygen levels in the atmosphere, for example, have increased by many orders of magnitude over time, profoundly affecting biologic and chemical cycles at the surface of the earth. These changes in Earth's climate can be traced through the imprints left behind inside the planet. In this lecture, Bucholz will explore how such shifts in atmospheric oxygen concentrations altered Earth's inner workings.
"I think everyone sort of has that innate curiosity of, you know, the rocks that they see on a car trip or when they're hiking," Bucholz says. "A lot of students come to me who are interested in doing some sort of field-based project. You're problem solving together, literally on-the-ground problem solving. It's a very different way to mentor, which is one of my favorite parts of the job—teaching out in the field."
Bucholz earned a bachelor's degree in geology and geophysics from Yale University and a doctoral degree in geochemistry through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. She joined the Caltech faculty in 2017 after completing her postdoctoral work at the Institute as the O.K. Earl Postdoctoral Scholar in Geology. Bucholz investigates a variety of problems pertaining to Earth's continental crust, its subduction zones, and variations found in the chemistry and character of igneous rocks.
The 2022–23 season marks the centennial of The Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series, which has brought Caltech's most innovative scientific research to the public since the Friday Evening Demonstrations premiered in October 1922. The series is named for Earnest C. Watson, a professor of physics at Caltech from 1919 until 1959.
The Watson Lectures, which are geared toward a general audience, spotlight a selection of the pioneering research conducted by Caltech's faculty as part of the Institute's ongoing commitment to benefiting the local community through education and outreach. Through a gift from the estate of Richard C. Biedebach, the lecture series has expanded to also highlight at least one assistant professor's research each season. All Watson lectures are free and open to the public.
Many past Watson Lectures are available on YouTube.
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