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Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014
 

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Grand Challenges


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Stephen Pacala, other faculty and students give an overview of the Grand Challenges Program at Princeton University. Read more.


Video Closed Captions

[African children singing about the Maasai relationship with the land]

Stephen Pacala:
Hi, I'm Steve Pacala, the director

Stephen Pacala:
of the Princeton Environmental Institute.

Stephen Pacala:
In Princeton University's Grand Challenges Program

Stephen Pacala:
students, faculty, and all

Stephen Pacala:
members of the Princeton community

Stephen Pacala:
work together to try to solve

Stephen Pacala:
some of the most important problems that confront humanity

Stephen Pacala:
including problems of climate and energy,

Stephen Pacala:
sustainable development,

Stephen Pacala:
and global health.

Stephen Pacala:
The Siebel Climate and Energy Challenge

Stephen Pacala:
investigates the impact of fossil fuels on climate.

Stephen Pacala:
It ranges from climate modeling, to impacts of climate

Stephen Pacala:
change on rainforests and the oceans, to geopolitics of oil,

Stephen Pacala:
to the policies and politics of a solution, and new

Stephen Pacala:
energy technologies.

Stephen Pacala:
Students travel to the far corners of the world from

Stephen Pacala:
tropical forests, to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to Saudi

Stephen Pacala:
Arabia, China, and the halls of Congress.

Stephen Pacala:
The Sustainable Development Challenge focuses on the East

Stephen Pacala:
African biodiversity, land use, poverty, and water.

Stephen Pacala:
It is based in our research facility in Kenya, but

Stephen Pacala:
also includes projects throughout Africa.

Stephen Pacala:
The work integrates studies of endangered wildlife, work with

Stephen Pacala:
local people, such as the Maasai, and has a particular

Stephen Pacala:
focus on water and land use.

Stephen Pacala:
In this region, everything depends on water.

Stephen Pacala:
The Global Health Challenge focuses on the epidemiology

Stephen Pacala:
of infectious disease,

Stephen Pacala:
the health of women and children, especially in

Stephen Pacala:
developing countries, vaccine development, and

Stephen Pacala:
antibiotic resistance.

Stephen Pacala:
Projects range from malaria in Africa to the risk of

Stephen Pacala:
a global flu pandemic.

Stephen Pacala:
The Program allows Princeton faculty

Stephen Pacala:
to redirect their research

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and collaborate across disciplinary lines

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and encourages participation among

Stephen Pacala:
all sectors of the University's academic community

Stephen Pacala:
including participation by graduate and

Stephen Pacala:
undergraduate students.

Emily Carter:
The beauty of the Grand Challenges initiative is

Emily Carter:
that it integrates the teaching and research and asks us

Emily Carter:
to think about how to enrich the undergraduate curriculum.

Craig Arnold:
These are concepts as scientists–we take for granted.

Craig Arnold:
We learned all that. We know it. But to take

Craig Arnold:
someone who is a budding English major and give them

Craig Arnold:
that little bit of knowledge—they now have so much more

Craig Arnold:
to go out. They can understand when we talk about

Craig Arnold:
the challenges of "should we build nuclear plants?"

Craig Arnold:
The Grand Challenges–really, it brings

Craig Arnold:
those people together. And, it gives them that little

Craig Arnold:
extra bit that students at Princeton deserve.

Kathleen Wade:
Hi, my name is Kathleen Wade. I'm a

Kathleen Wade:
Woodrow Wilson School major. I was funded by

Kathleen Wade:
the Development Grand Challenge during the

Kathleen Wade:
Summer of 2009. When I was working in Pune, India

Kathleen Wade:
I was working alongside another girl named

Kathleen Wade:
Devaki who was my age who had grown up in Pune.

Kathleen Wade:
And, it was a great experience to work alongside her.

Kathleen Wade:
I got to know her, and we became good friends.

Kathleen Wade:
It was really great to be able to be

Kathleen Wade:
in India and get an insider's view of what

Kathleen Wade:
the city is like through Devaki. And, we were

Kathleen Wade:
able to connect through our passion for

Kathleen Wade:
environmental issues.

Rohit Gawande:
Hi, my name is Rohit Gawande and I first received

Rohit Gawande:
funding from the Energy Grand Challenges Program

Rohit Gawande:
the summer after my sophomore year to do an internship

Rohit Gawande:
at ISLES Inc., which is a non-profit in Trenton,

Rohit Gawande:
New Jersey. My projects at ISLES mainly focused on

Rohit Gawande:
creating an energy efficiency program for local

Rohit Gawande:
residents and also teaching children at a local YMCA

Rohit Gawande:
about energy efficiency at their home.

Daniel I. Rubenstein:
What makes Grand Challenges so successful and so

Daniel I. Rubenstein:
novel is that it is providing a transformative

Daniel I. Rubenstein:
experience for both the researchers and the students.

Adjani Peralta:
At school we always learn a lot of theory and

Adjani Peralta:
we study a lot of papers, but to actually see

Adjani Peralta:
the papers in action in the community is what

Adjani Peralta:
I loved about my experience abroad. And, the

Adjani Peralta:
ability to come back here and try to make my

Adjani Peralta:
own impact on the community is what I really

Adjani Peralta:
appreciate from Grand Challenges.

Stephen Pacala:
The Grand Challenges Program is designed to

Stephen Pacala:
help solve some of the most important problems

Stephen Pacala:
that confront humanity by training a generation

Stephen Pacala:
of leaders committed to these problems.

Nisha Rao:
Just the issues that have come up during this

Nisha Rao:
research I think will be very relevant to my

Nisha Rao:
senior thesis. I think the most interesting thing

Nisha Rao:
I have learned is that: research can be very

Nisha Rao:
practical and can directly affect people’s lives

Nisha Rao:
in a positive way and the effects of that research

Nisha Rao:
can be measured almost instantly.

Mathias Esmann:
What I liked the most about the Grand Challenges

Mathias Esmann:
Program was that it gave me the freedom to do exactly

Mathias Esmann:
what I wanted which was a non-traditional summer

Mathias Esmann:
project where I wasn’t interning in an office,

Mathias Esmann:
but I was working on the ground.

Stephen Pacala:
The Grand Challenges Program allows students

Stephen Pacala:
and faculty alike the opportunity to deliver

Stephen Pacala:
on the social contract, to make a difference

Stephen Pacala:
in the world today while still continuing what

Stephen Pacala:
Princeton has always done best.

[music]

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