Extreme environment scientist Penelope Boston to speak at Coe

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2014-02-05 14:53:18 - General

Coe College will host a presentation by Phi Beta Kappa visiting scholar Penelope Boston, an extreme environment scientist who is a professor of earth and environmental sciences and director of Cave and Karst Studies at New Mexico Tech. The title of her talk is "The Planet Within: Caves from Earth to Mars and Beyond." The event will be held on Thursday, Feb. 20, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall. It is open to the public at no charge.

Boston also serves as the associate director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute. Her research focus includes geomicrobiology and astrobiology in extreme environments (caves, deserts, high latitudes and altitudes); human life support in space and planetary environments; and robotics for exploration and science in extreme Earth and extraterrestrial environments.

Author of over 150 technical and popular publications and editor of four volumes, Boston is writing a popular book and an academic work on the astrobiology of the subsurface environment. She is a fellow of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, now a member of its external advisory council, and serves on the NASA Planetary Protection Subcommittee. She received the 2010 Lifetime Science Achievement Award from the National Speleological Society, and was named a Caving Legend (2012) by the BLM Fort Stanton Cave Project.

Boston earned her Ph.D. in microbiology and atmospheric chemistry at the University of Colorado - Boulder, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the National Research Council at the NASA Langley Research Center.

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society. It has chapters at 283 institutions and more than half a million members throughout the country. Coe is one of five private colleges and universities in Iowa to host a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

The mission of Phi Beta Kappa is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression. Phi Beta Kappa campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America’s leading colleges and universities. The society sponsors activities to advance these studies - the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences - in higher education and in society at large.

For more information, call 399-8581 or visit coe.edu.