Friday, 15 April 2016 — 4:00 pm — GAR 0.102

Conevery Bolton Valencius, Univ. of Massachusetts-Boston

“Earthquakes, Fracking, and Public Perception of Science”

What can we—as residents, as taxpayers, as voters, or as scholars—make of recent tremors that have shaken formerly quiet terrain in mid-continent? How can we evaluate energy technologies in the context of rapidly-emerging and contentious science? I suggest that frameworks of the history of science can help sort out elements of public discussion and political debate about “frackquakes”: earthquakes increasingly linked with hydraulic fracturing and its associated waste technologies.


Conevery Bolton Valencius (CON-a-very va-LEN-chus) is the author of The Health of the Country (Basic Books, 2002), which won the George Perkins Marsh Book Prize from the American Society for Environmental History, and The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes (University of Chicago Press, 2013), about a series of great earthquakes along the Mississippi two hundred years ago. She teaches and writes at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Next year, she’ll move to Boston College and will continue her work on induced seismicity and fracking during a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute.