The College of Social and Natural Science’s World of Change workshop for teachers of mathematics and science will be held on campus Monday, November 8. The 12:30-1:30 p.m. luncheon keynote address, presented by Dr. Dennis Jacobs and Dr. Karen Branden, is titled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: How science is used and abused when investigating energy and environment issues.” It will be held in CMU Ballroom Section C.
The address is sponsored in part by an Environmental grant from Xcel Energy and is open to the public.
Dennis Jacobs and Karen Branden are MSUM professors, where Jacobs taught a course titled “The Science of Energy Technologies,” and Branden teaches “People and the Environment.” Both have been involved in the environmental/energy movement for several decades.
In the 1970s, Jacobs built a geodesic dome out of recycled materials, and using wind, passive solar, and biomass, lived a completely sustainable lifestyle in the north woods of Minnesota. During that time he worked for the Minnesota Environmental Protection Agency and was very involved in bringing energy fairs to the citizens of the state. The fairs offered programs and products that educated individuals to live more efficient and sustainable lifestyles. Also, during the late seventies, he started a company, with his brother, that designed, manufactured and sold wind energy conversion systems.
Branden has taught at various universities in Minnesota, primarily Bemidji State and Moorhead, where she has developed several courses dealing with energy and the environment. She has done extensive research into how societies change their operating paradigms and has been a keynote speaker at an international energy conference. Currently Branden and Jacobs have designed and are living in a super insulated house that uses passive solar, biomass, and a large thermal mass (swimming pool) to minimize energy consumption. They are presently building an electric vehicle that recharges the batteries with sustainable energy sources.