J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee
PO Box 220, Los Alamos, NM 87544

2021 Oppenheimer Panel Discussion
There is No Planet B: A Call to Address Climate Change
was held
Wednesday, August 11, 2021 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Co-sponsored by PEEC and the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee
Our distinguished panel, moderated by Professor William H. Press, consisted of:
  • France A. Córdova, President of the Science Philanthropy Alliance and former director of the National Science Foundation.
  • Alexandra Jonko, Team Leader of the Applied Terrestrial, Energy, and Atmospheric Modeling Team (ATEAM) in the Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) Division at LANL and an expert on regional impacts of current and future climate change.
  • David Gutzler, Professor Emeritus, Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, whose research interests include long-term climate change projections, wildfires and summer precipitation, and weather and climate fluctuations affecting southwestern North America.

Panel Biographies:

France Anne Córdova is the President of the Science Philanthropy Alliance and former Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). She has served in five presidential administrations and is an internationally recognized astrophysicist for her contributions to space research and instrumentation. In addition to being the 14th NSF Director,  she co-chaired with other agency heads several White House committees of the National Science and Technology Council. She has spoken before the U.S. Congress and on global stages including the Global Research Council, Arctic Ministerials, and the World Economic Forum. She is the only woman to serve as President of Purdue University and she is also Chancellor Emerita of the University of California, Riverside, where she was a Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy. Previously, Córdova served as NASA’s Chief Scientist, representing NASA to the larger scientific community. She has been awarded several honorary doctorates, including ones from Purdue, Duke and Dartmouth Universities.

Alex Jonko is a Research Scientist and Leader of the Applied Terrestrial, Energy, and Atmospheric Modeling Team at LANL. Jonko’s research centers on the use of computational models and analysis to understand climate and atmospheric processes from global-scale radiative climate feedbacks to the effects of micro-scale turbulence on the movement of a wildfire. Her position at LANL has afforded her the opportunity to apply physics-based atmospheric modeling to a wide range of problems relevant to both climate science and global and national security, including regional impacts of current and future climate change, especially on wildfire, and improved explosion monitoring and verification.

David Gutzler retired from the teaching faculty at the University of New Mexico in 2020 and now holds the title of Professor Emeritus. His UNM research group has emphasized the application of observed climate data and model output to evaluate the causes and impacts of global and regional climate variations, and to improve the skill and usefulness of climate and hydrologic projections across Southwestern North America on seasonal and longer time scales. He has served as editor of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate and is an AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist. He was a lead author for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth Assessment Report (2013) and now serves in the same capacity for its sixth Assessment Report, currently in revision for release in early 2022.

William H. Press is the Leslie Surginer Professor of Computer Science and Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin and also a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). From 2009 to 2017, Press was a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is currently the elected treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. For more than two decades, Press was Professor of Astronomy and of Physics at Harvard University.