EnviroThursday - "Fighting Big Oil in Italy"

12:00 PM  - 1:00 PM
Thursday Apr 30, 2015
Olin-Rice Science Center 250

Speaker:  Maria D'Orsogna, Associate Professor of Mathematics at California State University, Northridge

Trained as a physicist and working as a mathematician, Dr. Maria D’Orsogna is also a hands-on activist fighting to protect the Italian countryside and seas from Big Oil. In 2007, D’Orsogna first learned of proposed oil activities in her home region of Abruzzo, Italy. The oil company ENI planned to uproot century-old wineries to build oil wells, a refinery, and a 7km pipeline to the sea. Using social networks and grassroots awareness-raising, D’Orsogna travelled from town to town in Italy educating local citizens about environmental and health effects and exposing political corruption. Thanks to public uproar and opposition, ENI was forced to abandon what it had once touted as one of its most prominent Italian projects. Subsequently, D’Orsogna, popularly called “the Erin Brockovich of Abruzzo,” has led several other anti-drilling campaigns, both onshore and offshore. In this talk, she will share her story of unanticipated environmental activism.

Maria D’Orsogna received her Ph.D. from UCLA, her M.S. from the University of Maryland, and her baccalaureate from the University of Padua, all in physics. She is an associate professor in mathematics at California State University, Northridge, and a visiting professor of biomathematics at UCLA. D’Orsogna has held multiple National Science Foundation research grant, authored more than 40 technical publications in applied mathematics, physics, and biomathematics, and is the winner of numerous awards.

Refreshments provided.

This EnviroThursday is co-sponsored with the Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Department and the Institute for Global Citizenship.

Contact: Ann Esson,

Sponsored By: Environmental Studies, Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship (IGC)

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