Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Imagining the Future, Friday, April 12

Rob Dunn, professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University, will present “Imagining the Future,” Friday, April 12.

The future requires infrastructure. We have already begun to build much of the infrastructure on which civilization will depend in 50 or even 100 years. To a great extent, that infrastructure, like our depictions of the future in art and literature, anticipates a world in which humans are ever more digitally connected and where nature is ever more separate from our daily lives and under control.

In his presentation, Professor Dunn will argue that this vision represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between humans and the rest of nature. It is a misunderstanding of the extent to which humans are dependent upon nature and exposures to nature. It is a misunderstanding with regard to our ability to control nature. But perhaps most importantly, it is a misunderstanding of the extent to which humans have been able to alter the general rules or regularities of nature.

Drawing heavily on case examples from his work on insect macroecology/biogeography and his work with the public on the biology of daily life, Dunn argues for a new vision of the future, one in which we work with rather than against nature’s general rules (which ecologists and evolutionary biologists have fought so very hard to discern). Achieving this future, or even simply moving toward it, will require much stronger connections between the general insights of ecology and evolutionary biology and applied fields.

The UT Science Forum takes place Friday, April 12 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe (located at 1600 Phillip Fulmer Way), Room A.

Guests are encouraged to bring their lunch or purchase it from the arena. Each presentation is followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.

We have temporary parking passes available for our guests who do not have UT parking passes. An RSVP is required for the pass. To request a pass, please email Amanda Womac.