Host Richard Alley

Dr. Richard Alley is Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and Associate of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, where he has worked since 1988. His experience includes three field seasons in Antarctica, eight in Greenland, and three in Alaska. Dr. Alley teaches, and conducts research on the climatic records, flow behavior, and sedimentary deposits of large ice sheets, to aid in prediction of future changes in climate and sea level.

Dr. Alley has served on a variety of advisory panels and steering committees, including chairing the National Research Council’s Panel on Abrupt Climate Change and participating in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which was co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), and has provided requested advice to numerous government officials in multiple administrations including a US Vice President, the President’s Science Advisor, and committees and individual members of the US Senate and the House of Representatives. He has published over 200 refereed papers, and is a “highly cited” scientist as indexed by ISI. His popular account of climate change and ice cores, The Two-Mile Time Machine, was chosen science book of the year by Phi Beta Kappa in 2001. He graduated with a Ph.D. in 1987 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and with M.Sc. (1983) and B.Sc. (1980) degrees from The Ohio State University-Columbus, all in Geology.

Richard Alley in Silhoutte

Richard Alley silhouetted by the setting Sun filtering through steam from bubbling mud pots and intensely hot fumaroles at Hell’s Gate Thermal Reserve, near Rotorua on the North Island of New Zealand.

His awards include election to the US National Academy of Sciences, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the Revelle Medal of the American Geophysical Union and the Horton Award of their Hydrology Section and Fellowship in the Union, the Seligman Crystal of the International Glaciological Society, the Agassiz Medal of the European Geosciences Union Cryospheric Section, Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the US Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Public Service Award of the Geological Society of America, the Easterbrook Award of their Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division and Fellowship in the Society, the American Geological Institute Award For Outstanding Contribution To Public Understanding of the Geosciences, and at Penn State, the Eisenhower Teaching Award, the Evan Pugh Professorship, the Faculty Scholar Medal in Science, and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Wilson Teaching Award, Mitchell Innovative Teaching Award and Faculty Mentoring Award.

Dr. Alley is happily married with two daughters, two cats, two bicycles, and a pair of soccer cleats.