ASRC Announces Spring 2022 Falconer Lecture Series

Ray Falconer inspects a weather map on the UAlbany campus.
Ray Falconer (pictured above) was ASRC’s first full-time employee and known for calling in weather forecasts to local radio stations from the Whiteface Mountain Field Station. (Photo courtesy of Phillip Falconer)

Albany N.Y. (March 31, 2022) – The University at Albany’s longest-running public science lecture series is returning in April through a hybrid format.

UAlbany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) Falconer Lecture Series, which launched in 1962, features academics and practitioners, across disciplines, who are engaged in societally interesting and beneficial projects of our day. 

The Spring 2022 series will feature six discussions between April 5 and May 10 inside the new ETEC research and development complex, rooms 149A/151A. All lectures will start at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public via Zoom or in-person. Registration is required.

Spring Lectures:

  • April 5: “How Weather Science Shapes Renewable Energy Development, Policy & Grid Integration,” Bruce Bailey, business executive and ASRC faculty member emeritus
  • April 12: “WINTRE-MIX: The Winter Precipitation Type Research Multi-scale Experiment,” Justin Minder, associate professor, Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences
  • April 19: “The Science of Communicating about Weather Hazards,” Jeannette Sutton, associate professor, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity
  • April 26 (Zoom only): “Monitoring and Characterization of Land Disturbance: Algorithms and Preliminary Results,” Zhe Zhu, assistant professor, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut.
  • May 3: “Cities in a Warming Climate,” Jorge Gonzalez-Cruz, professor of Empire Innovation, ASRC
  • May 10: "Decommission and Removal of the Hogansburg Dam: Reconnecting Watersheds, Repatriating Tribal Lands,” Tony David, director of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division.

“After shifting to a fully remote format for the first time in 60 years due to the pandemic, we are excited to bring back our Falconer Lecture Series to campus,” 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. 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 ASRC’s iconic Whiteface Mountain Field Station, located at the top of the summit. 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. The series is usually offered twice a year, a spring version on the Uptown Campus and a summer version at the Whiteface Mountain Field Station.