Nobel Conference 54

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

All sessions will be live streamed and archived
8:30 a.m.

Doors Open

Lund Arena

9:15 a.m.

Musical Prelude - Gustavus Wind Orchestra

9:30 a.m.

Academic Procession and Opening Ceremony

Welcome, Rebecca M. Bergman, President of the College
Nobel Conference 54 Introduction to the Big Questions and Themes, 2018 Nobel Conference Co-Chair

10 a.m.

Lecture by David Montgomery, PhD

Dr. David Montgomery, Professor of Earth and Space Sciences,University of Washington, and MacArthur Fellow

Montgomery will lay the case for an agriculture that is profitable while also helping feed us all, cool the planet, and restore life to the land.

10:45 a.m.

Panel Discussion and Audience Q&A

The speakers will discuss and take question on the implications of the ways we have understood soil throughout history.

11:30 a.m.


Interactive exhibits open for high school attendees

12:45 p.m.

Musical Prelude - Gustavus Wind Symphony

1 p.m.

Lecture by Claire Chenu, PhD

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

Chenu will consider how organic matter helps increase the soil’s capacity to sequester carbon--and the limits to this capacity.

1:45 p.m.

Lecture by Rattan Lal, PhD

Dr. Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Sciences, Ohio State University and member of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Lal’s research has shown how soil tillage practices can help reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration. Here, he will consider the roles soil plays in the global flow of carbon.


2:15 p.m.


2:30 p.m.

Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A

The speakers will discuss and take questions on the role of soil in carbon sequestration, and the global climate.

3:30-5 p.m.

Dig Deeper

Deepen your study of the soil by taking in one or more these interactive activities. Options include both indoor and outdoor activities; self-guided tours and group discussions; and topics both scientific and artistic.
No ticket required.
Shuttle vans to Big Hill Farm and the Arboretum will depart from the outside the main Lund Center doors by the farm equipment.

Outdoor activities
Big Hill Farm
A student-run garden that supplies food to the Gustavus Community.
Special event at the Farm: At 4:15 p.m. Gustavus senior student Maddi Miller, dance and environmental studies major, will perform a dance choreographed for the conference.

“Till Hill”
A display of antique and contemporary soil tillage equipment.
Located by the Johns Family Courtyard with local farmers on hand to explain the machinery.

Linnaeus Arboretum
Walking tour includes four natural areas representing the major biomes of Minnesota.

Soil Pit
A four-foot hole that allows you to see a cross-section of soil considered typical in this region. Located near the Big Hill Farm.

Indoor activities
Geology Department Museum
Geology student interpreters will be present. Located on the lower level of the Nobel Hall of Science.

Artist Discussion
Join artists Deborah Foutch, Greg Euclide, and Betsy Byers, for a conversation about art they created that engages with the land and soil.

Hillstrom Museum of Art Opening Reception
Jackson Campus Center
Two exhibitions are on view: FOCUS IN/ON featuring Cameron Booth’s Toilers and 10 AM, Zero One, and Other Setting: Paintings by Tony Martin.
In the Museum’s FOCUS IN/ON project, a single work from the Hillstrom Collection is analyzed in depth, in collaboration with a colleague from the Gustavus faculty. Toilers (c. 1925), by American artist Cameron Booth (1892-1980), is considered in an essay co-written by Laura Triplett, a member of the geology department and co-chair of this conference, and Hillstrom Museum of Art director Donald Myers. The essay explores the artist, his career, and the way he portrayed people who live in close relationship with the land. It considers how new scientific breakthroughs are affirming what farmers have long known: that our personal and societal well-being is tightly linked to the health of our soil.
The Museum will remain open until 8 p.m.

No ticket required and not live streamed.

3:30 - 6 p.m.

Unci Maka: Our Relationship with Mother Earth

Part I-Healthy Soils, Healthy Lives
Part II-Microbes and Spirituality

Canté Sųtà-Francis Bettelyoun, Oglalà Laķh'otà, Coordinator of the Native American Medicine Gardens-UMN will discuss our connection with Grandmother Earth the ways in which all life depends on her. From microbes to earthworms to mammals, Cante Sute will describe how Indigenous cultural practices help create healthy soils, leading to a healthy environment and a healthy life. He will explore the connections he has with all his relatives, which have given him an understanding of the connection between microbes and spirituality, and have helped him on his healing journey.

6:30 p.m.

The Soil Experience

Come “experience” the underground world in this interactive, self-guided exhibit designed by Gustavus students. See what a soil core sample looks like. Examine soil under a microscope to see microbes living in it. Feel the difference between loamy sand and sandy loam soil. Learn everything you never knew about vermicomposting. 

Lund Forum: enter from the second floor.
No ticket required and not live streamed.

6:30 p.m.

Literature at Nobel

Bookworms: Soil and Literature

Henry MacCarthy, artistic director
A meditation on the earth and its soil featuring selected texts from Nobel Literature Laureates performed and directed by theatre & dance alumni and current students.

Lund Arena Art Exhibit
No ticket required and not live streamed.

8 p.m.

Music at the Nobel Conference

Living Soil: Seasons in the Earth

Living Soil: Seasons in the Earth is a journey through the seasons featuring music by Boulanger, Beethoven, Brahms, Hirabayashi, Rachmaninoff, and Schubert. Performers include Taichi Chen, violinist with the Minnesota Orchestra; Esther Wang, pianist and music professor at Gustavus; David Carter, cellist and music professor at St. Olaf College; and soprano; Emi Chen.

Bjorling Recital Hall

Open to the public without charge; no ticket required. This event will be live streamed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

All sessions will be live streamed and archived
Time Event
8:30 a.m.

Doors Open

Lund Arena

9:15 a.m.

Music Prelude - Gustavus Symphony Orchestra

9:30 a.m.

Lecture by Frank Uekotter, PhD

Dr. Frank Uekotter, Reader in Environmental Humanities, University of Birmingham.

Soils are multidimensional, but we study and manage them in ways that can be described as “fundamentalistic.” Uekotter explores what fundamentalist practices like monocropping say about us as humans.

10:15 a.m.

Lecture by Ray Archuleta

Ray Archuleta, conservation agronomist at Soil Health Consulting and retired soil educator (“Ray the Soil Guy”), at the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Archuleta will discuss how agricultural producers can negotiate the sometimes-conflicting demands of the economy and the soil. How do farmers balance the economic realities of agriculture and their desire to care for the soil that sustains them?

11 a.m.


11:15 a.m.

Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A

The speakers will discuss and take questions on negotiating economics and environment.

12 p.m.


1:15 p.m.

Music Prelude - Gustavus Jazz Ensemble

1:30 p.m.

Lecture by Jack Gilbert, PhD

Dr. Jack Gilbert, Professor in Department of Surgery and Faculty Director, The Microbiome Center, University of Chicago.

Through the Earth Microbiome Project (EMP), Jack Gilbert and his colleagues are using crowdsourcing techniques to study the microbial makeup of the planet. The EMP is revealing vast diversity in the microbial communities in our soil. Gilbert explores what we can learn from this diversity, and what the variations in these communities mean for humans.

2:15 p.m.

Lecture by Suzanne Simard, PhD

Dr. Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forest Ecology, University of British Columbia, featured in the documentary “Intelligent Trees.”

Simard introduced the concept of a “mother tree,” the hub of a network of trees that communicate with each other through mycorrhizal relationships--connections facilitated by microscopic fungi in the soil. Simard will discuss her own scientific journey to understand how trees use these relationships to communicate about food sources, and about pests and other dangers.

3 p.m.


3:15 p.m.

Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A

The speakers will discuss and take questions on major scientific discoveries about life in the soil.

4 p.m.


5 p.m.

Nobel Conference Banquet Doors Open

Cec Eckhoff Alumni Hall, O.J. Johnson Student Union

5:30 p.m.

Nobel Conference Banquet 

Cec Eckhoff Alumni Hall, O.J. Johnson Student Union

Bring what we have learned about soil to what is served on the dinner plate. While dining on locally-sourced food, learn about the ways soil creates our food and drink.

Banquet ticket required.
This event will not be live streamed