Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon
University and a former Johns Hopkins faculty member, will
deliver the Carolyn and Edward Wenk Jr. Lecture in
Technology and Public Policy on Friday, April 22, on the
Homewood campus. Cohon's talk, "Technology and Politics:
The Case of Nuclear Waste in America," will begin at 3 p.m.
in 110 Hodson Hall.
Cohon chaired the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review
Board from 1997 to 2002, a crucial period in the federal
government's effort to create a nuclear waste repository at
Yucca Mountain, Nev. In his lecture, Cohon plans to use
this hotly debated project as a case study to examine the
challenges of analyzing and representing technically
complex problems in a political decision-making process.
A highly regarded authority on environmental and water
resource systems analysis, Cohon began his teaching and
research career at Johns Hopkins in 1973. He was a faculty
member in the Department of Geography
and Environmental Engineering for 19 years. He also
served Johns Hopkins as assistant and associate dean of
engineering and vice provost for research.
Prior to his appointment as president of Carnegie
Mellon in 1997, Cohon was dean of the School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies at Yale. He holds a bachelor's
degree in civil engineering from the University of
Pennsylvania and a doctorate in civil engineering from MIT.
The Wenk Lecture is the result of a 1988 contribution
to the Whiting School of Engineering made by Edward Wenk
Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Wenk. Their goal was to
"contribute to the education of engineers through
understanding the crucial influence of technology in our
culture and the importance of public policy and politics in
steering technology toward socially satisfactory
Edward Wenk received a bachelor's degree from Johns
Hopkins in 1940 and a doctorate from the university in
1950, both in civil engineering. He was known as the father
of deep-diving submarine prototypes and served as a leading
federal science adviser.
Carolyn Wenk served as a volunteer in hospitals and
mental health facilities and on behalf of the homeless. She
died last October, and this year's lecture is dedicated to
Each year, a different Whiting School of Engineering
department hosts the Wenk lecture and chooses the speaker.
This year's event will be presented by the Department of
Geography and Environmental Engineering.
A reception will take place after the lecture.