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Nobel Prize winner to speak at UW–Madison

September 29, 2011

Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom will visit the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus to deliver a Hilldale Lecture on ecological and social diversity.

Ostrom, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in economic sciences, will speak at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St.

Ostrom is a global leader in research on “common pool resources,” or natural- or human-made resources that have many users and face excess use, such as forests, fisheries, oil fields, aquifers or the global climate system. Her work looks at how humans and ecosystems are inseparable and how they must be managed to retain long-term benefits for the well being of humans.

She is a distinguished professor of political science at Indiana University and research professor at Arizona State University.

Her lecture on “Polycentric Institutions to Cope with Ecological and Social Diversity” is part of an annual fall symposium hosted by Wisconsin Ecology, a campus-wide interdisciplinary organization of scholars working on ecological and environmental challenges.

Ostrom’s visit should appeal to a wide cross-section of natural and social scientists across campus, as the breadth of her work makes her a natural fit for Wisconsin Ecology, says Stephen Carpenter, Stephen Alfred Forbes Professor of Zoology, director of the Center for Limnology and winner of the Stockholm Water Prize, often called the “Nobel Prize of water.”

“Ostrom’s research has triggered new insights that link ecology, political science and economics, and she is one of the most innovative interdisciplinary thinkers working today,” Carpenter says.

From 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., Ostrom will also visit the UW Law School’s Program in Real Estate, Land Use and Community Development to participate in a panel discussion about issues in common pool resources. The panel will include UW–Madison experts in law, business, economics and freshwater science talking about how law and policies in their fields should address common property.

The panel discussion will take place in Lubar Commons of the Law School, 975 Bascom Mall.

The Hilldale Lecture Series, which began in 1973 and is administered by the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty, is sponsored by the faculty’s four divisional committees — Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Studies — and funded by the university’s Hilldale Fund.

All lectures are free and open to the public.