2018 distinguished alumnus event

Posted on Sept. 11, 2018

Plate tectonics, natural disasters, and the evolution of planet Earth

A free public talk by UCLA EPSS Distinguished Alumnus Dave Bercovici

Join us for an engaging presentation and Q&A with UCLA EPSS alumnus Professor Dave Bercovici (Yale University, UCLA PhD 1989), who was recently elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The theory of Plate Tectonics celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, although the build up to it arguably took 400 years of accumulated observations starting with ocean navigation and mapping of coastlines. Plate Tectonics is widely heralded as the unifying theory of Earth sciences, and makes predictions not just about where most earthquakes and volcanoes occur, but also where the most damaging ones are. But the plate tectonics model also led to theories about why Earth's climate is habitable and stable enough to allow complex life to form, and also to ideas about where and how life first started. However, why plate tectonics occurs on Earth, when it started, and whether we can expect to find it on other planets (and so far we have not, as far as we know) remains a mystery and an active area of scientific research.