Montana State University

MSU to host international workshop on sun's influence June 1-6

May 22, 2008 -- From MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- Scientists from around the world will gather at Montana State University June 1-6 to discuss the sun's influence on global climate. A series of free public events will be held Tuesday, June 3, in conjunction with the workshop.

Approximately 100 scientists from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and North America will participate in the workshop titled "Solar Variability, Earth's Climate and the Space Environment," said MSU physicist Dibyendu Nandi, head of the local organizing committee.

Participants will include directors of major international institutions, leaders of space missions and contributors to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. One of the participants, the managing director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, will give a public address on June 3.

"This is the first workshop in this international series of meetings that will be held in the United States," said William Hiscock, physics professor and head of the MSU physics department. "The selection of MSU as host for this event reflects the strong international reputation of our solar physics research group."

Nandi added, "The Sun is the main source of energy in the solar system. Understanding how variations in its magnetic and radiative output influence our climate and space environment is the primary focus of this workshop. Achieving this understanding is important for protecting our technologies in space and on Earth and is essential towards distinguishing the natural and man-made causes of global climate change."

The schedule for the June 3 public events is:

2 p.m. -- Telescopes for viewing the sun will be set up in front of MSU's Engineering and Physical Sciences building by workshop staff in collaboration with members of the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society.

3 p.m. -- "The Sun-Earth Connection," a slide show of NASA images and science appropriate for students in grades 4-12, will be presented by the MSU Space Public Outreach Team at the Burns Technology and Telecommunications Center in the EPS building.

6:30 p.m. -- "The Sun-Earth Connection" slide show will be repeated in room 276 of the Strand Union Building along with science-related craft activities.

"This evening presentation is an opportunity for kids to learn about science, while their parents attend a public lecture in which the evening will culminate," said MSU solar physicist David E. McKenzie, who is coordinating the educational events.

6:30 p.m. -- Public talk on "Global Climate Change: Is the Sun to Blame?" in the SUB Ballrooms by Sami K. Solanki, managing director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research in Germany and contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report. A public reception will follow.

The solar workshop is sponsored by the NASA Living with a Star Program, the Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics, the Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center and MSU.

For more details, see or contact Dibyendu Nandi at (406) 994-4470.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or