2021 College of Science Lecture Series water image

Arizona Science Lecture Series | 2021

In the 16th annual College of Science Lecture Series, our distinguished faculty will take the audience on a journey through water, its history and its future. From the comfort of your home, you can watch the virtual premieres of lectures on the cosmic origins of water, the essential role of the Colorado River in the arid Southwestern United States today, and the next great challenges of water for future generations. We will lay the foundations for understanding the water all around us, from the ocean to the groundwater beneath the surface.

Watch the Water Lecture Series on YouTube*


Beyond Earth

April 1 | Jessica Barnes & Pierre Haenecour

Life on Earth is comprised of water and organic molecules. In this talk, we explore the cosmic origins of these components, how they were delivered to the Earth, and how the exploration of asteroid Bennu by the OSIRIS-REx mission will help elucidate how Earth became habitable.


Within the Ocean

April 8 | Diane Thompson

The oceans play a fundamental role in year-to-year patterns of temperature and water availability, as seen in studies of the world's largest ocean and its evolution of patterns in response to the Earth's changing climate. In this talk, we will discuss how we harness this historical information to develop and test innovative solutions for increasing the resilience of coral reef ecosystems at the Biosphere 2. 


The Colorado River

April 15 | Connie Woodhouse

The Colorado River is a vital surface water supply for the arid Southwestern US, where the demand for water from the river now exceeds the supply. In this talk, I will discuss how this arid lands river, one of the most highly developed in the world, is subject to natural climate variability and, increasingly, the impacts of a warming climate. 


Beneath Our Feet

April 22 | Laura Condon

Groundwater is by far the largest un-frozen freshwater resource on the planet. Yet, it is often overlooked, overused, or misunderstood. In this talk, we will explore how the water beneath our feet supports ecosystems and human systems alike and the role that it has to play in our future. 


Society and A Changing Climate

April 29 | Kevin Anchukaitis

Our society's most significant challenges from climate change will be those involving water - both too much causing flooding and too little causing droughts. What can lessons from past civilizations tell us about the dangers we face and how we might adapt? In this talk, we take a tour around the globe to explore how climate change alters the planet's water cycle, how societies past and present have responded, and the challenges we face in the future.


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Series sponsors


History of the Arizona Science Lecture Series

In spring 2006, the College of Science launched its first public lecture series on the topic of Evolution. Bringing together educators and researchers from inside the College, this inaugural series was received by audiences that have grown in size and passion ever since. Since that time, UA Science has provided an annual lecture series on a wide range of science topics that impact our community. Topics have included cosmology, neuroscience, transformative science, life science, evolution and climate change. 

In past years, a companion program for educators is offered as a for-credit course with discussion, lecture, and activities to help teach series topics in the classroom. This course is structured for science teachers at the 6-12 grade level, but K-12 teachers at all levels are invited to participate. Pre-service teachers who are not yet certified may also take the course and earn undergraduate credit.

While thousands look forward to this free public series every year, many thousands more have participated in these series by downloading the lecture podcasts available on this site. Lectures are also available as podcasts on the UA's YouTube for Past Lecture Series. 

UA Science Lecture Series:

Spring 2020: Catalysts of Change

Spring 2019: Searching for Certainty

Spring 2018: Humans, Data and Machines

Spring 2017: Rethinking Reality

Spring 2016: Earth Transformed

Spring 2015: Life in the Universe

Spring 2014: The Evolving Brain

Spring 2013: Genomics Now

Spring 2012: Living Beyond 100

Spring 2011: Cosmic Origins

Spring 2010: Mind and Brain

Spring 2009: Science that Transforms

Spring 2008: The Edges of Life

Fall 2006: Global Climate Change

Spring 2006: Evolution