The Department of Geosciences presents

Geology Open Night

Spring 2015



The Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami of 
March 11,  2011: 
What Have We Learned?


Prof. Dan Davis


7:30  PM Friday 
February 27, 2015
ESS 001

Why where the atoms are, and why that matters

Prof. John Parise

7:30 PM Friday
April 17, 2015
ESS 001


Earth and Space Sciences Building 
Lecture Hall (Room 001)
SUNY Stony Brook Campus

There will be Refreshments and Demonstrations after the Geology Open Night Presentations.

Admission is Free!!

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How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?

Geology Open night lectures are usually on topics in the geosciences related to the current research of the faculty, staff and students at SUNY Stony Brook. These presentations are intended for:

  • those interested in new developments in the sciences

  • earth science high school students and teachers

  • undergraduate and graduate students in geosciences

  • professional geologists

One hour toward professional development is available for teachers and professional geologists attending the Geology Open Night lectures.


The Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami 
of March 11, 2011: 
What Have We Learned?

Prof. Dan Davis

7:30 PM Friday February 27, 2015
ESS 001 (Lecture Hall)

Three years ago, a devastating tsunami and a nuclear crisis in Japan began with one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. Japan is located at a very active plate boundary, and its tectonic setting places it at high risk for powerful earthquakes, including the type most likely to produce tsunamis. In these regards Japan has much in common with the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. What can modern geology and seismology tell us about the future seismic hazards on both sides of the Pacific Ocean and how best to prepare for earthquake and tsunami hazards? Now is a good time to explore why and how this devastating earthquake and tsunami occurred and what lessons can be learned from the successes (and failures) of Japan’s disaster preparations. How great is our risk, and what can we do to reduce it?

Prof. Davis has been a member of the Stony Brook faculty since 1986. His areas of research include the mechanics of plate collisions and the mountain belts formed by them, the geology and geophysics of nuclear arms control, and geophysical studies of the shallow subsurface of Long Island and its recent geological history. He is also a co-author of a popular book on amateur astronomy, Turn Left at Orion, currently in its 4th edition.


Why where the atoms are, and why that matters

Prof. John Parise

7:30 PM Friday April 17, 2015
ESS 001 (Lecture Hall)

The properties of condensed matter, solids such as the minerals that make up the planets, and liquids, depend critically on how atoms are arranged. Studies that answer the question “where are the atoms?” allow us to understand, predict and modify the physical and chemical properties of materials, including minerals.  Studies that allow us to study how the atomic arrangements change when we change environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature, pressure etc., are especially valuable for interpreting physical measurements we make on materials we measure at the Earth and planetary surface, and those materials we presume exist in the Earth and planetary interiors.  Think about the differences between graphite and diamond: both materials are composed entirely of carbon and yet they have very different properties and uses.  Graphite is a black conductor and used for lubrication.  Diamond is an insulator, the hardest known substance and is used as an abrasive.  For two minerals with the same chemical composition these differences are remarkable, and reflect the drastic differences in atomic arrangement of the carbons in their crystal structures.  Over 20 noble prizes related to the endeavor of finding “where the atoms are” in materials as diverse as DNA and the minerals that make up rocks are testimony to the enduring power and importance of the technique we term crystallography - the study of atomic arrangements. We’ll explore how crystallographic information is obtained at some of the world's most powerful x-ray sources, under operating conditions, and how this information is used.

Professor Parise has been at Stony Brook since 1989, and has published over 350 papers in peer-reviewed journals and holds 4 patents.  His research focuses on the structure and properties of materials under their operating conditions.  This involves considerable work at high pressures and temperatures.  He was recognized with the 2008 President of Stony Brook and the SUNY Chancellor’s award for excellence in scholarly and creative activities and is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences.  He directs the Joint Photon Sciences Institute, which promotes development of techniques to enhance collaboration between Stony Brook and Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source.


You may also be interested in the following lectures:
Astronomy Open Night,

The World of Physics and
The Living World
These lectures are usually held in ESS 001 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays during the academic year.

Professional Development letters are available for teachers and geologists for attending these lectures.

Web pages describing earlier Geology Open Night presentations

Spring 1998Fall 1998, Spring 1999, Fall 1999, Spring 2000, Fall 2000, Spring 2001,
Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Fall 2002, Spring 2003, Fall 2003Spring 2004, Fall 2004,
Spring 2005, Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Fall 2007, Spring 2008,
Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011,
Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014


There will be Refreshments after the Presentations.

Admission is FREE!

Presentations are in Room 001 ESS Building SUNY Stony Brook

How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?