Nobel Conference 54

Living Soil: A Universe Underfoot
October 2 & 3, 2018

Scientists and farmers alike have long recognized soil as the source of food—and thus life—for humans, but also as a living entity in its own right, a community of micro- and macro-organisms interacting with the Earth's mineral resources. As microbial and molecular science expands the microfrontiers, and as ecosystem scientists disentangle global processes, we also are discovering how terrestrial organisms depend on living soils, and in turn, they shape the life of the soil. Our Nobel Conference invites participants to consider the vast diversity and complexity of soils and the challenges we face in protecting this most fundamental resource.

What is soil health, and what processes sustain healthy soils? What interactions connect the living entities in the soil, and how do these interactions shape natural systems? How will climate change affect soils, and (how) can soils be used to mitigate rising levels of carbon in the atmosphere? How do we develop sustainable agricultural practices that will protect against soil erosion and promote soil health? How might we best promote exploration of beneficial compounds from soils? How might we re-imagine our relationship to soil culturally and socially, as well as biologically? These are just some of the questions that Nobel Conference 54 will address.

Presenters


Raymond Archuleta

Raymond Archuleta
Conservation Agronomist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
"Ray the Soil Guy"

Jack Gilbert

Jack Gilbert
Professor, Department of Surgery; The Committee on Microbiology; Group Leader, Argonne National Laboratory
University of Chicago
Named one of the "Brilliant Ten" by Popular Science Magazine in 2015

David Montgomery

David Montgomery
Professor of Earth and Space Sciences
University of Washington
Author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations and The Hidden Half of Nature
MacArthur Fellow in 2008

Frank Uekotter

Frank Uekotter
Reader, Environmental Humanities 
University of Birmingham
Author of The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany

Claire Chenu

Claire Chenu
Professor of Soil Science
AgroParisTech
United Nations Special Ambassador for the International Year of Soils 2015

Rattan Lal

Rattan Lal
Professor of Soil Sciences
The Ohio State University
Member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007

Suzanne Simard

Suzanne Simard
Professor of Forest Ecology
University of British Columbia
Featured in the documentary “Intelligent Trees”