ASU tackles range of issues at world’s largest annual science meeting

ASU annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of ScienceFrom the rise of artificial intelligence to the future of water, Arizona State University faculty and students discussed a slew of science topics at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is the world’s largest science and technology society, and its annual meeting (held Feb. 14–17 in Washington, D.C.) draws thousands of scientists, engineers, educators, policymakers and journalists from around the world. At the AAAS meeting, School of Sustainability researcher Veronica Horvath addressed the future of the American West’s most precious resource, water. Horvath, an Arizona State University Master of Science in sustainability student and Decision Center for a Desert City research assistant, is a first-place awardee of the 2018 Central Arizona Project Award for outstanding water research. At AAAS, Horvath presented on a Decision Center for a Desert City 2018 survey that explores residential perceptions on sustainable water management in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver. The survey focuses on the need for water management changes and support for specific strategies toward sustainability. Although there were many takeaways from the survey, she found interesting that a large portion of residents supported strategies such as wastewater being treated to drinking-water standards. When it comes to managing carbon dioxide levels in the air, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering graduate student Evvan Morton thinks it may be best to start changing our policy mindset by flipping the conversation. “It may be better to manage carbon dioxide emissions by treating these emissions as waste," Morton said. "If you thinking of CO2 as waste, you are literally littering the air like we do with garbage on the ground. What would that mean culturally and politically with how we perceive CO2 emissions and the environmental policies that we make?” Morton, who is a graduate student thinking globally in mentor Klaus Lackner’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, explored this new paradigm in her talk. Lackner is a senior sustainability scholar in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. The ASU Wrigley Institute also saw representation at the 2019 AAAS Fellows ceremony from senior sustainability scientist Huan Liu. He was one of three ASU faculty to receive recognition of their career contributions to science, and were honored by other past ASU AAAS Fellows and colleagues. Liu was honored for his research in information, computing and communication. Zhaocheng Wang, Leah Jones, Dave White, Josephine Godwyll, Riley Andrade, Veronica Horvath (From left) Zhaocheng Wang, School of Sustaininable Engineering and the Built Environment; Leah Jones, School of Sustainability; Dave White, principle investigator, director; Josephine Godwyll, School of Community Resources and Development; Riley Andrade, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning; Veronica Horvath, School of Sustainability. Photo courtesy of senior sustaimability scientist Dave White