June 2017 Newsletter: Taking the Long Range View

Written by
Maura M. Fennessy
June 9, 2017

Princeton University Office of Public Affairs social media icon

The folding chairs are packed up, the tents are coming down and the grass seed scattered over well-worn lawns. After a long weekend of Reunions and three days of Commencement activities, Princeton's 2017 graduating class can leave Princeton with not only their degrees but a trove of advice to inspire their next steps. Film director Baz Luhrmann cautioned the graduating seniors that, "The world is out of ideas", challenging them to, "Get out there and make the world new again!" Class Valedictorian Jin Yun Chow encouraged her classmates to slow down, make room for serendipity, and give thanks to the unsung heroes in our lives. And President Chris Eisgruber harkened back to the advice he was given at his own Princeton Commencement ceremony in 1983 by former Princeton president, the late Bill Bowen, to lead lives of service and empathy, and to have faith in the institutions, of government and society, that "allow us to band together in support of larger purposes" and "permit a continuity otherwise impossible to achieve".
With these perspectives in mind, it seems fitting for this issue of @princeton.edu to focus on policies, research and collaborations that look toward our shared future, one that values innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to solve transportation challenges, to find the next generation of energy solutions, and preserve the foundations of a healthy planet. We also feature this year's outstanding New Jersey secondary school teachers honored at the University's 2017 Commencement. And for a little fun during this busy election year in the state, you may enjoy catching up with the webcast, "Politics & Polls," by Princeton professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang.

Michael Oppenheimer

Leadership on Climate Change
On June 1, President Trump announced that he is pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, which went into effect in November 2016 and set the goal to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In response to this announcement, Princeton University has reaffirmed its 2015 climate change pledge, to "sustain and enhance its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, achieve greater resource conservation, reduce waste, and accomplish the other ambitious goals of its comprehensive sustainability plan."

We look back to this January edition of "The Andlinger Center Speaks" featuring a Q&A with Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer,  a world-renowned expert on climate change science and policy.   At the time he speculated about the future of U.S. investment in renewable energy, involvement in the Paris agreement and leadership in climate changes policies under the Trump presidency.

Alain Kornhauser

The Andlinger Center Speaks: Is the driverless car good for the environment?
Many companies and scientists predict that driverless cars are the future of transportation, but what will be the environmental implications? Alain Kornhauser, professor of operations research and financial engineering and director of the Program in Transportation at Princeton University, says driverless cars will be ultimately beneficial for the environment. Kornhauser predicts that driving will become more comfortable and safe with the increase of automated driver assistance, which will increase emissions in the short time as people drive more. Eventually, driverless cars will become the norm, and emissions will decrease, primarily from a push for ridesharing.

Map of United States showing locations of where sea level rise is expected and the rate at which it will occur

Rising sea levels will boost moderate floods in some areas, severe floods in others
A new study by researchers at Princeton and Rutgers universities has found that climate-related sea-level rise is expected to cause more severe floods than previously predicted in some regions of the country and less severe floods than predicted in other regions of the country.
Princeton University advances dialogue and collaborations with ExxonMobil
From liquid metal walls for nuclear fusion reactors to battery storage for electric vehicles, Princeton University researchers presented their work on innovative technologies and potential solutions for ensuring the world's energy and environmental future at a May 9th event meant to further University research collaborations with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company.


Protecting nature, preserving humanity: a Q&A with Robert Pringle.
Robert Pringle, a Princeton University assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, advocates in a June 1 perspective piece in the journal Nature for a global effort to upgrade and enlarge protected areas. In this Q&A, Pringle discusses his article, the need to defend and shore up protected areas, and how, if we forsake our remaining wild places, we risk losing the foundations of a healthy planet and the links to other living things that make us human. The most effective way to build public support, he says, is to welcome people in to protected areas - to identify the non-damaging uses of a protected area, and thus illustrate the return on investment these lands provide.

Secondary school teachers honored at Princeton 2017 Commencement plus President Christopher J. Eisgruber and Chris Campisano

Princeton University honored four exceptional New Jersey secondary school teachers at its 2017 Commencement on Tuesday, June 6th. This year's honorees are Peter Drozd of Union City High School, Emily Rock of Oakcrest High School in Mays Landing, Colleen Tambuscio of New Milford High School and Cory Terry of Ocean City Intermediate School. The teachers were selected for the award based on nominations from public and private schools around the state. The teachers will each receive $5,000, as well as $3,000 for their school libraries. Princeton has honored secondary school teachers since 1959 after receiving an anonymous gift from an alumnus to establish the program.

Politics & Polls

Produced by Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, "Politics & Polls" features professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang, who debate and discuss a broad spectrum of topics related to politics and current events. Launched just under a year ago as a venue for analyzing the 2016 Presidential campaign, it has evolved into an almost weekly discussion of issues swirling around the Trump presidency that features guest speakers including U.S. Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rush Holt.

Princeton Summer Theater logo

Princeton Summer Theater
Princeton Summer Theater is dedicated to training the up-and-coming leaders of the theater world and offers students and young professionals experience working in every area of theater production, from performance, to design, to marketing, and everything in between.  This summer's line-up features productions of Pippin, Spider's Web, The Crucible, and Appropriate, beginning June 22 and running through August 20.

Sean Connery in Goldfinger

Princeton University Art Museum Summer Film Series
Inspired by the exhibition Great British Drawings from the Ashmolean Museum, this summer's outdoor film series features British directors, actors, or themes. All films will be shown on Brown/Dod Quad outside the museum and begin at sundown. In the event of rain, films will be shown at 8 p.m. in 101 McCormick Hall. The featured movies include:

Goldfinger, Thursday, June 15, 7:30pm
A Knight's Tale, Thursday, July 6, 7:30pm
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Thursday, August 3, 7:30pm