Maps, Climate Change, and the Great Lakes (Eps. 6, Going Up Alleys Podcast)

On this episode of “Going Up Alleys,” we are treated to a discussion of interdisciplinary work on maps, climate change, and the Great Lakes, centered on a seminar by Professor Robert Markley. Dr. Markley is a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and with his colleagues combined computing and the humanities to understand the irregularities of different cartographers over time as they mapped the Great Lakes.

Dr. Markley was hosted by SMU Professor of English Rajani Sudan, and is introduced by her just before his presentation.

This episode is centered on some audio I once recorded for the “Mustang Physics Podcast,” but which never saw the light of day in that podcast.

Listen to Episode 6: Maps, Climate Change, and the Great Lakes

Professor Robert Markley is the W. D. and Sara E. Trowbridge Professor of English, Writing Studies, and Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the Fall of 2011, he spoke at SMU about his interdisciplinary work on the study of maps from cartographers in the 1700-1800s, specifically maps of the Great Lakes. The cartographers – British and French – appear to map wildly different views of the lakes. Are these due to imprecision in their abilities, or are they faithfully mapping the lakes but mistaking ice and wetland for an evolving solid coastline? Can the maps tell us, in a fine-grained way, about climate and its effects on land before the era of instrumentation, and complement “climate proxies,” which are less-fine-grained? Dr. Markley explores these and other questions through digitized maps and computer algorithms, and a lively discussion ensues. Enjoy!

Show Notes

  • 0:00: Opening Theme and Title
  • 0:50: Introduction (to the introduction)
  • 4:05: Dr. Sudan introduces Dr. Markley
  • 6:00: Dr. Markley’s Seminar and some Discussion
  • 55:35: Closing Remarks
  • 59:22: Closing Theme and Credits
  • Music for the podcast is licensed under Creative Commons and is by the artist, Nicoco. The song used in the podcast is “Occipital,” from the album “Classicoco,” and is available from Jamendo.
  • This podcast was produced at Hampton House. Linux and Ubuntu were used in the making of this podcast, as was a Macbook, a set of BLUE Microphones, Audacity, and an reasonably insignificantly small amount of “too much free time.”
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About Stephen Sekula

Steve Sekula is an Assistant Professor of Experimental Particle Physics at Southern Methodist University. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004, and currently spends most of his time either conducting research into the Higgs boson on the ATLAS Experiment or teaching. Oh, and he blogs. We all have flaws.
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