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Burning Stuff: Fossil Fuels, Consuming the Life of the Past to Power Life of the Present

Event Type
Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE)
Nov 17, 2020   12:00 - 1:00 pm  
Prof. Emeritus Stephen Marshak
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Jenna Kurtzweil
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This event is part of iSEE's three-part fall lecture series: "Where Stuff Comes From: Earth's Resources & Sustainability," presented by Prof. Emeritus Stephen Marshak.

Event summary: Society primarily uses fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) to power industry, agriculture, lighting, transportation, communication, and computers. How did these energy sources come into existence, what technologies are now used to extract them, and why has it proved so difficult for society to switch to other sources, despite the negative impact of using these fuels on climate?

Series description: Society uses an immense variety of materials that come from the Earth itself. In this lecture series, we examine some of these materials: How did they come into existence in or on our planet? How are they found and extracted? How do people transform them into useable forms? What are the environmental sustainability issues associated with resource extraction and use?

Prof. Emeritus Stephen Marshak was on the faculty at the University of Illinois for 35 years. He has served as Geology Department Head and as School of Earth, Society & Environment Director. His research in structural geology and tectonics, and his interest in geologic photography, have taken him to all seven continents.

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