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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 18, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 30
Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon to Give Wenk Lecture

By Phil Sneiderman

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 outcomes."

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 her memory.

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.


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