The John Carlson Lecture

The John H. Carlson Lecture communicates exciting new results in climate science to the general public. Free of charge and open to the general public, the lecture is made possible by a generous gift from MIT alumnus John H. Carlson to the Lorenz Center in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT. 

The Lorenz Center is pleased to present the 2022 John H. Carlson Lecture, in partnership with the New England Aquarium and the Lowell Institute:

The Ocean’s Natural Way to Stop Climate Change

Jess Adkins, Caltech

Oct 20, 2022  |  6:30PM
In person at the Simons Theatre, Central Wharf, Boston
or via live stream
Free and open to the public. Students and families welcome.
Doors open at 5:30 with exhibits from MIT students and climate scientists in the Simons Theatre lobby.



With the burning of fossil fuels, the human race is conducting an experiment of unprecedented magnitude—carbon dioxide (CO2) is warming the planet and we are not sure how this will turn out. Even as we move to electrify the economy and leave fossil fuels behind, we must find ways to remove CO2 from the Earth’s atmosphere to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change. Reducing CO2 emissions alone is no longer enough. In this talk, Dr. Adkins—a chemical oceanographer who studies the history of the Earth’s climate—will share how a project that started with the basic science question of ‘How quickly do corals dissolve when the ocean acidifies?’ turned into a possible way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at scale.

Jess Adkins is the Smits Family Professor of Geochemistry and Global Environmental Science in the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at Caltech. As a chemical oceanographer, Adkins focuses on geochemical investigations of past climates using corals, sediments, and their interstitial waters; rate of deep ocean circulation and its relation to mechanisms of rapid climate changes; metals as tracers of environmental processes; and radiocarbon and U-series chronology. After completing a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Haverford College, Adkins earned his PhD in 1998 studying chemical oceanography, paleoclimatology, and geochemistry in the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. Adkins joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology in 2000.

Questions? Please contact Megan Cokely  |



Past Lectures

2019: Professor Laura Robinson, professor of geochemistry, University of Bristol
Deep Sea Corals and Their Climate Secrets

2018: Professor John Grotzinger, professor of geology and geobiology, and the division chair for Geological and Planetary Sciences, at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Searching for Ancient Life on Mars

2017: Professor Susan Solomon, Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies
A Brief History of Environmental Successes

2016: Professor Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn. State
Big Ice: Antarctica, Greenland and Boston

2015: Professor Bjorn StevensDirector of the Atmosphere in the Earth System Department at the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, and professor at the University of Hamburg
Watching Water: Nature's Field Guide to Weather and Climate


2014: Professor Peter Molnar, Professor of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Fellow, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, CO
Big Cats, Panamá, and Armadillos: A Story of Climate and Life


2013: Professor John Wettlaufer, Professor of Applicable Mathematics at Oxford and the A.M. Bateman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Geophysics and Physics at Yale
Sea Ice, Climate and Observational Mathematics


2012: Professor Timothy Palmer, Royal Society Professor of Climate Physics at UK's Oxford University
Predicting Climate in a Chaotic World: How Certain Can We Be?


2011: Professor Paul Hoffman, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology Emeritus at Harvard University
Earth's Surprising Climate History