Fall 2015 Nelson Speaker Series: Water

Water Nelson Series

Every semester, Harvey Mudd hosts a series of talks by experts in a particular field, as a part of the Nelson Speaker Series, named after respected and well known Mudd alum Bruce J. Nelson ’74. This year’s talk focuses on water, an appropriate subject given the drought California has been in for the last four years. We are half way through the semester and have had two out of four talks given by experts. The first was titled Water – The Magic Molecule at which Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, Michael Fayer talked about his research on the chemical and physical properties of water molecules. Most recently, Drought in California – Disaster and Opportunity, featured a panel of four experts whose discussion demonstrated the complexity of the water crisis. A local utilities official, lawyer who had significant experience in environmental law cases involving big energy and water companies, and three professors specializing in biology, environmental analysis, and politics, represented different stakeholders of the community that are affected by the water crisis. Their conversation and the talk ultimately “showed how all the stakeholders have valid reasons for their opinions on the drought and how their approaches to dealing with the water crisis works for them,” according to Lillian Liang ’18.

Water paint

One of the best things about the Nelson Series is that it is open to and free for the public. The talks are often coupled with unique exhibitions relating to the year’s topic. This year’s art display focuses on geographical art, in which a local artist explores the balance between opportunity and opportunities and negative impacts in an Indian reservation at Arrowhead that has been leased to Nestle for bottling water.


I’m excited to attend the next two talks and see who the next speaker series brings in!

You can watch clips of each talk on the Nelson Distinguished Speaker Series section of the Mudd website.