Background Image

News & Events


Nationally Noted Physicist And Best-selling Author Will Speak At Clarkson Convocation

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at]

Where were you when the world stopped turning was the question asked in a popular country and western song after 9/11. Soon we may be asking "Where were you when the world ran out of oil?"goodstein

Man has nearly depleted the energy source we once thought inexhaustible. This is the premise put forth by California Institute of Technology Vice Provost and Professor of Physics David Goodstein in his new book "Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil. Goodstein will deliver the Van Sickle Endowed Lecture at Clarkson's convocation August 23, 4 p.m., in the Alumni Gym.

Goodstein will make the case to Clarkson students and faculty that global oil production will peak and then begin to decline sooner than most people think, possibly even in this decade. He writes in his book that the worldwide peak will almost surely be highly disruptive, if not catastrophic. He predicts that all efforts to deal with the problem on an emergency basis are doomed to fail. "The result," saysGoodstein, "will be inflation and depression that may indirectly cause a decrease in global population."

The outlook for the environment after the oil production peak is none too rosy, either. Millions of people will turn to coal for heating their homes and businesses, as well as cooking, thereby multiplying the quantity of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. "The change in the greenhouse effect that results eventually tips earth's climate into a new state hostile to life," theorizes Goodstein.

Goodstein has been on the faculty at Caltech for 35 years. He is a Frank J. Gilloon Distinguished Teaching and Service Professor; he has been awarded the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the McGovern Medal of the Sigma Xi Society.

Goodstein has written two other books - States of Matter and the best seller Feynman's Lost Lecture. He directed and hosted the award-winning PBS series The Mechanical Universe, an educational television series that has been used by millions of students all over the world. In articles, speeches and colloquia, Goodstein addresses conduct and misconduct in science and issues related to planet earth.

The author will meet with the Clarkson Honors class during lunch on August 23 for a question and answer session. Goodstein's book has been assigned by Ken Visser, assistant professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, as preparation for the sophomore Honors course "Critical Thinking About Energy."

The title of Goodstein's presentation is taken from his book Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil. The lecture is open to the public.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

Calendar View the full calendar >>

Full Calendar RSS Feed