ASRC Falconer Series Goes Virtual for First Time in 60 Years

Ray Falconer gives his radio weather forecast from inside the Whiteface Mountain Field Station.
Ray Falconer (pictured above) was known for giving radio weather forecasts from inside the Whiteface Mountain Field Station.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 23, 2021) – UAlbany’s longest-running public science lecture series will continue this semester – just in a different format.

The Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) Falconer Lecture Series, which launched in 1962, features academics and practitioners who are engaged in societally interesting and beneficial projects of our day. It is usually offered twice a year, a spring version on the Uptown Campus and a summer version 5,000 feet above sea level at the Whiteface Mountain Field Station.

This year’s series is shifting to Zoom due to the pandemic. Each lecture is free with registration.

Spring lectures include: 

Graphic of Falconer Series lectures for Spring 2021
  • March 30: “Big Solar,” Richard Perez, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, University at Albany
  • April 6: “Blame It on the Moon: Plant and Ecosystem Responses to the August 2017 Solar Eclipse,” Daniel Beverly, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
  • April 13: “Electric Bikes, Bikeshare and More,” Paul Winkeller, Senior Advisor, Urban Cycling Solutions
  • April 20: “Climate Change and Extreme Weather in New York State,” Mark Wysocki, Senior Lecturer, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
  • April 27: “Transitioning to Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Food Supply Chains,” Xiaobo Romeiko, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University at Albany
  • May 4: "Recreational Impacts and Alpine Stewardship in the Age of COVID-19,” Kayla White, Stewardship Manager, Adirondack Mountain Club

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we are excited to be able to virtually host our Falconer Lecture Series,” said ASRC Director Chris Thorncroft. “This series is deeply rooted in ASRC’s history and offers scientists a unique opportunity to engage with the general public. While the format will be different this semester, our committee has lined up a strong interdisciplinary mix of lectures to lead timely and interesting discussions.” 

Falconer History 

In 1961 Vince Schaefer founded ASRC and shortly after hired Ray Falconer as ASRC’s first full-time employee. Ray was charged with running observatory research at the Whiteface Mountain Field Station. He became known for his call-in weather forecasts to local radio stations, as well as providing forecasts to the Whiteface Mountain Authority (known today as the Olympic Regional Development Authority) and the National Weather Service.

The Falconer Lecture Series officially launched in the summer of 1962 at Whiteface Mountain and was co-sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Ray would provide a 10-minute weather forecast and commentary at the beginning of each lecture.

In 1973, ASRC expanded the series to include a spring version on the UAlbany campus.