Weaver Lecture Series at Auburn University to feature international scientists Orlando Rojas and David Fowler

Published: March 22, 2017
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The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences' Weaver Lecture Series will feature two internationally renowned scientists March 30 and April 11. The series was established in 1996 through an endowment provided by Earl H. and Sandra H. Weaver.

The first lecture of this year's two-part series is by Orlando Rojas, professor of biobased colloids and materials at Aalto University, Finland.

Rojas, in his lecture “Nanocelluloses and Multi-phase Systems,” will discuss the Finnish vision of the future bio-economy and the importance of forests as a resource for lignocellulose, the biomass of woody plants, as the ideal precursor for material design.

Prior to Rojas' current faculty position at Aalto, he was a professor in the Departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University.

Earlier in his career, he was a senior scientist appointed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the Royal Institute of Technology, a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Surface Chemistry, Sweden and research assistant at Auburn University.

Rojas' work is centered on the utilization of lignocellulosic materials in novel, high performance applications and the interfacial and the adsorption behaviors of surfactants and biopolymers at solid/liquid interfaces.

Among his many honors and awards, Rojas was appointed as Finland Distinguished Professor, 2009-14, and was elected a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2013 for his scientific and professional contributions.

Most recently, Rojas was the recipient of the 2015 Nanotechnology Division Technical Award and IMERYS Prize for outstanding contributions that have advanced the industry's technology. He received the Fibrenamics Award, University of Minho, Portugal in 2016, in recognition of his scientific work and impact in the field of advanced materials from lignocellulose.

The second lecture will feature David Fowler, professor at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Fowler's talk, “Impacts of Human Activities on the Global Nitrogen Cycle Through the 21st Century,” is about the efficacy of the Earth's ecosystems, atmosphere and oceans to globally cycle increased fixed nitrogen from human activity.

Fowler is an environmental physicist with the centre. He trained in environmental physics at the University of Nottingham, earning a doctorate in 1976 for his research on the dry deposition of sulfur dioxide by micrometeorological methods.

His research focuses on the surface – atmosphere exchange processes of trace gases and particulate matter and has been applied to ozone, acid deposition, the global biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen, emissions of greenhouse gases, atmospheric aerosols and effects of pollutants on vegetation.

Fowler's work has been widely applied in the development of effects-based pollution control strategies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe.

He was awarded an Honorary Professorship at the University of Nottingham in 1991, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1999 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2002. In 2005, he was awarded a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his research of atmospheric pollution.

The objective of the Weaver Lecture Series is to bring experts in various research areas relevant to forestry and wildlife sciences to the Auburn University campus to enhance the School's academic programs through public lectures and interaction with faculty and students.

Lectures are open to the public and will take place at the Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Building on campus. A reception will be held prior to each lecture. For details, go to http://wp.auburn.edu/sfws/weaver/.

The Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is a flagship for forestry and wildlife, and natural resources programs in Alabama and beyond. With world-class faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, the school offers a range of academic and research programs within the areas of forestry, wildlife, natural resource management, geospatial and environmental informatics, and sustainable biomaterials and packaging.