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Connecting the Dots 2014 Speaker Bios

Gro Brundtland
Gro Brundtland
United Nations Foundation, The Elders

Gro Brundtland is on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation and is a member of The Elders, an independent group of high-profile global leaders who work together to promote peace and human rights. She was a special envoy on climate change for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and a member of the Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Global Sustainability that aimed to create a new blueprint for achieving low-carbon prosperity in the 21st century.

A medical doctor who also earned a master's degree in public health, Brundtland spent 10 years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system. She was elected director-general of the World Health Organization in 1998, where her many skills as doctor, politician, activist and manager came together.

With her strong belief of the link between health and the environment, she became Norway's minister of the environment in 1974. In 1981 at the age of 41, Brundtland was appointed prime minister of Norway – the youngest person and the first woman ever to hold that office. She also served as prime minister from 1986 to 1989 and 1990 to 1996. In total, she was head of the Norwegian government for more than 10 years.

During the 1980s, Brundtland chaired the World Commission of Environment and Development, gaining international recognition championing the principle of sustainable development. The commission's recommendations led to the 1992 Earth Summit — the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro.


Stacey Bent
TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, Chemical Engineering

Stacey F. Bent is the Department Chair of Chemical Engineering and the Jagdeep and Roshni Singh Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, where she is appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor, by courtesy, of Chemistry, of Materials Science and Engineering, and of Electrical Engineering. Professor Bent serves as the Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and a senior fellow in the Precourt Institute of Energy. Professor Bent obtained her B.S. degree in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Stanford. After carrying out postdoctoral work at AT&T Bell Laboratories, she joined the faculty of the Chemistry Department at New York University. She moved to Stanford University in 1998. Professor Bent’s research is focused on understanding surface and interfacial chemistry and materials synthesis, and applying this knowledge to a range of problems in sustainable energy, semiconductor processing, and nanotechnology. Her group currently studies new materials and processes for electronics, solar cells and solar fuels, and catalysts.

As the Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, Professor Bent oversees the center’s mission to make human electricity and transportation systems more sustainable for the long term. The center also aims to educate tomorrow’s energy leaders, through outreach events, course grants, and summer internship programs.


Chris Field
Chris Field
Professor of Biology, Professor of Environmental Earth System Science

Chris Field is the founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology. He also holds two faculty positions at Stanford University: the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, and professor of environmental Earth system science. He is co-chair of Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which in 2012 led the effort on the IPCC Special Report, "Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation." The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report was released on March 31, 2014.

Field's research emphasizes impacts of climate change, from the molecular to the global scale. He has, for two decades, led major experiments on responses of California grassland to multifactor global change. He has been deeply involved with national- and international-scale efforts to advance science and assessment related to global ecology and climate change. He is a recipient of a Heinz Award and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Ecological Society of America.


Katharine Mach
Katharine J. Mach
Sr. Research Associate, Carnegie Science’s Dept. of Global Ecology

Katharine J. Mach is Co-Director of Science for the IPCC Working Group II Technical Support Unit. Her work supports the scientific activities of IPCC Working Group II, which has included Expert Meetings and Workshops, the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, and now the Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report. Her past research has involved marine biomechanics and ecophysiology, ecological consequences of wave-induced breakage in seaweeds, and impacts of climate change for ocean ecosystems. Current research interests include methods of assessment and treatment of uncertainties and risk in climate change assessments and decisionmaking.


Michael D. Mastrandrea
Michael D. Mastrandrea
Co-Director of Science, IPCC WG II Technical Support Unit

Michael D. Mastrandrea, Ph.D., is an assistant consulting professor at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and serves on the editorial board of the journal Climatic Change. He helped lead scientific coordination of the IPCC "Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation" (2012), and the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC "Fifth Assessment Report" (2014). His research focuses on integrated modeling of the climate and society, climate change impacts and vulnerability assessment, treatment of uncertainty in climate change projections and climate policy decision-making, and the accurate and effective communication of scientific research to decision-makers and the general public. Mastrandrea was the first graduate of Stanford's Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER), where he was a Department of Energy Global Change Education Program Fellow.


Lauren Sommer
Lauren Sommer
KQED Public Radio, Science and Environmental Reporter

Lauren Sommer covers environment, water, and energy for KQED, the NPR and PBS station based in San Francisco. As part of her day job, she has scaled Sierra Nevada peaks, run from charging elephant seals, and desperately tried to get her sea legs - all in pursuit of good radio. She is a recipient of the Harold Gilliam Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting and has been recognized by the Society of Environmental Journalists and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. Lauren has a degree from Cornell University and is originally from the Bay Area. Her work has appeared on Living on Earth and Marketplace and she is a regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.


Noah Diffenbaugh
Noah Diffenbaugh
Environmental Earth System Science, Woods Institute for the Environment

Noah Diffenbaugh is an associate professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. His research interests are centered on the dynamics and impacts of climate variability and change, including the role of humans as a coupled component of the climate system. Much of his work has focused on the role of fine-scale processes in shaping climate change impacts, including studies of extreme weather, water resources, agriculture, human health, and poverty vulnerability.

Diffenbaugh is a lead author for Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Ad Hoc Committee on Effects of Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions. He also serves on the executive committee of the Atmospheric Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), as an editor of Geophysical Research Letters and as a member representative to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Diffenbaugh is a recipient of the James R. Holton Award from AGU, a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a Terman Fellowship from Stanford. He has also been recognized a Kavli Fellow by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and as a Google Science Communication Fellow.


Charles Kolstad
Charles Kolstad
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy

Charles D. Kolstad is a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) and at the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University.

He is an internationally known economist who once served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana and has taught at universities in the U.S., Russia, and Belgium. His research interests are in information, uncertainty and regulation. He does much of his applied work in the area of climate change and energy markets.

Currently he is a convening lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize); an advisor to the California Air Resources Board; and editor of the journal Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.

He is a former president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) and has authored more than 100 publications, including the undergraduate text, Environmental Economics, which has been translated into Japanese, Spanish and Chinese.

Prior to joining Stanford, Kolstad was a professor of economics and environmental science & management at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He is a university fellow at Resources for the Future (Washington), a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge) and a fellow of CESifo (Munich). In 2009 he was elected fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.


Jon Krosnick
Jon Krosnick
Communications

Jon A. Krosnick is the Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences; a professor of communication and of political science at Stanford University; and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. He is a leading international authority on questionnaire design and survey research methods, and on the psychology of attitudes, especially in the area of politics. For 30 years, Krosnick has studied how the American public's political attitudes are formed, change and shape thinking and action.

Since the mid-1990s, Krosnick has been conducting survey research on the American public's views of global warming. The Stanford Woods Institute has provided support for much of his recent work on views of global warming.

Krosnick directs Stanford University's Political Psychology Research Group, a cross-disciplinary team of scholars who conduct empirical studies of the psychology of political behavior. The group often collaborates with leading news media organizations, such as ABC News, the AP and the Washington Post.

He is the author of four books and more than 180 articles and chapters. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Terry Root
Terry Root
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Terry L. Root is a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. She primarily conducts research on how wild animals and plants are changing with climate change, with a focus on the possible mass extinction of species as a result of global warming.

Root actively works at making scientific information accessible to decision makers and the public. She has been a lead author for the Third (2001) and Fourth (2007) Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), and a review editor for the Fifth (2014) Assessment Report. In 2007 the IPCC was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore.

In addition to other honors, Root was awarded the Spirit of Defenders Award for Science by the Defenders of Wildlife in 2010. She was also chosen as an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in 1999, a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment in 1992, and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1990.


Aaron Strong
Aaron L. Strong
Department of Philosophy at Stanford University

Aaron Strong is a doctoral candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources where he studies how carbon cycling in ecosystems responds to different anthropogenic inputs. His research also uses social scientific approaches to study conditions under which environmental managers take actions to assess such carbon cycle impacts. While a PhD student, Aaron has been actively involved in the development of California's cap and trade policies. Prior to arriving at Stanford, Aaron was an environmental policy research associate at MIT. Previously, he worked as a research scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA and at the University of Montana. Aaron received his master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and holds a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College.


Blake Francis
Blake Francis
Department of Philosophy at Stanford University

Blake Francis is a Phd Candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Stanford University. His research interests include social and political philosophy and environmental ethics. He is currently working on a dissertation on climate change ethics, which examines how to make trade-offs between the harms of climate change and the social benefits provided by fossil-fuel use. He received an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Montana, where he also conducted research in the Department of Forestry and Conservation. Prior to pursuing graduate work, Blake had a career in wilderness management and trail construction with the US Forest Service in Arizona and Alaska.


Deepti Singh
Deepti Singh
Environmental Earth System Science

Deepti is a 4th year Ph.D. student in Environmental Earth System Science in the Climate and Earth System Dynamics research group. Her current research focuses on understanding regional-scale climate dynamics and climate change impacts in the world's most vulnerable regions. She uses advanced statistical tools and climate model simulations to examine the role of human activities and natural climate variability on observed changes in extreme events with a view to quantifying the climate risks in developing countries associated with continued global anthropogenic emissions. Before pursuing climate change studies, she earned her master's in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University studying cleaner alternatives to currently used jet fuels.


Daniel Horton
Dan Horton
Postdoctoral Researcher at Dept. of Environmental Earth System

Daniel Horton is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Environmental Earth System Science at Stanford. His research focuses on the intersection of climate change and humans with a particular emphasis on public health impacts. His research uses numerical models and observational data to investigate potential changes in air quality and disease vector evolution. Daniel received a BS in physics from Tulane University, a BS in atmospheric science from Texas A&M University, and a PhD in geological sciences from the University of Michigan. Prior to studying climate science, Daniel was a weather officer in the United States Air Force.


Frances Moore
Frances Moore
Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER)

Frances C. Moore is a PhD student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. She is working with David Lobell to study how farmers are likely to adapt to climate change. Understanding the rate and effectiveness of this autonomous adaptation is important for accurately estimating the future impact of climate change on global agricultural production and food security. Fran is combining experimental, statistical, and field-based methods from economics, anthropology and psychology with climate data and models in order to better understand adaptation in agriculture.


Nik Sawe
Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER)

Nik Sawe is a PhD candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. His work adapts neuroeconomics – the study of financial decision-making in the brain – to environmental applications: from consumer responses toward eco-labeling, to environmental philanthropy and the valuation of natural resources. By combining neural data with behavioral economics and survey work, Nik is able to discover which individual differences best predict the usage of different heuristics in environmental decision-making. This helps optimize environmental policies in order to best serve a heterogeneous population. Nik currently teaches a self-designed course n Environmental Decision-Making and Risk Perception to fellow graduate students. Before graduate school, Nik utilized his neuroscience background in the biotech field, and received his BS in biology from Stanford.


Delavane Turner
Delavane Turner
Management Science and Engineering

Delavane Diaz Turner is a PhD candidate in the MS&E department, advised by Prof John Weyant. Her research is focused on climate and energy policy modeling under uncertainty, with an emphasis on the representation of climate change impacts and technology costs in IAMs. She is supported by the John A and Cynthia Fry Gunn Stanford Graduate Fellowship. Delavane is also a member of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Energy and Environmental Analysis program. Delavane is a distinguished graduate of the US Air Force Academy with a BS in Astronautical Engineering. She earned a MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.