Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

March 18, 2005

Ridge 2000 Distinguished Lecturer Deborah Kelley
to Present Oceanography Lectures at Whitworth, Gonzaga

The Ridge 2000 Distinguished Lecturer Series, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, will feature as its 2005 lecturer Deborah Kelley, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Oceanography and the astrobiology program at the University of Washington. Hosted by Whitworth College and Gonzaga University, Kelley will present two lectures on April 5: an afternoon presentation at Whitworth tailored for the science community, and an evening lecture at Gonzaga for the general public. Admission to both lectures is free. For more information, please cal (509) 777-4210 or (509) 777-3265.

Kelley's afternoon lecture, "Life within the Endeavour System: One of the Most Extreme Environments on Earth," for the science community, will take place April 5 at 1 p.m. in the Eric Johnston Science Center Auditorium, Room 233, at Whitworth College. Her evening presentation, "Discovery of the Lost City Hydrothermal Field: Implications for Life in the Oceans of Our Solar System," for the general public, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Globe Room at Gonzaga University.

Kelley specializes in seafloor hydrothermal systems and geobiological processes. She has been involved in the discovery of numerous hydrothermal fields, most recently the Lost City Hydrothermal Field (www.lostcity.washington.edu). Kelley earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Washington and received her Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University, in 1990. She was a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for two years.

In 1992, she returned to the University of Washington to teach and to continue her research. Kelley's work focuses on exploration of new vent fields and examination of the linkages between geological and biological processes in systems supported by volcanoes and by rock-altering reactions.

She is also developing prototype instruments that may yield new insights into the conditions under which life thrives, survives, and expires in the extreme environment within the walls of black smoker chimneys. She has participated on four Ocean Drilling Program Cruises; she routinely uses the human-occupied submersible Alvin, and robotic vehicles Jason, ROPOS, and Tiburon; and she has served as co-chief and chief scientist on numerous expeditions. She is a member of the Extreme Environments working group at the University of Washington and serves on the Ridge 2000 Executive Committee.

The National Science Foundation and the Ridge 2000 (R2K) Steering Committee believe that scientific research can and must make a broader impact on society at large, beyond the limited community of scientists, who in this case study oceanic ridges. The R2K Distinguished Lectures provide a venue to engage public audiences as well as scientists and students in the fascinating exploration of earth processes and the exotic life forms these processes sustain at the bottom of the oceans where sunlight cannot penetrate.

Mid-ocean ridge science will remain for many years an exciting arena for research and exploration, particularly when one considers that fewer than 30 years ago the science community had no idea that life existed at the bottom of the world's deep oceans. Two captivating IMAX movies are now available for those who wish to study further: Stephen Low's Volcanoes of the Deep, released in 2004, and James Cameron's Aliens of the Deep, released in January 2005.


Thomas Hillman, visiting professor of physical science, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4210 or (509) 777- 3265 or thillman@whitworth.edu.

Joanne Smieja, chair, department of chemistry, Gonzaga University, (509) 323-6630 or smieja@gonzaga.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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