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James Lowenthal's Talk on NN's YouTube Channel

Published on 11/8/2023
“It’s Nighttime — it’s supposed to be dark!”

We humans, and virtually all other life on Earth, have evolved in a natural 24-hour cycle of light and dark. It’s literally in our DNA to depend on the cycles of day and night. And there’s a cost to missing those cycles of nature. In the presence of light pollution, serious human illnesses from sleep disruption to breast and prostate cancer are elevated, and most animals including fish, mammals, and pollinating insects we depend on for our food are negatively impacted. Plants including crops suffer as well. And light pollution is growing fast, as fast as 10% per year by some measures. Light pollution is a global problem with local solutions: we can all make a significant and immediate difference in our own communities with some simple and effective changes. Join Prof. James Lowenthal (Smith College) as he surveys the damage to the natural world caused by excessive and poorly planned light at night, and how we can reclaim natural darkness for the beneift of all living creatures including ourselves.

James Lowenthal is the Mary Elizabeth Moses Professor of Astronomy at Smith College. He received his BS in Physics and Astronomy from Yale and his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Arizona. He studies the formation and evolution of galaxies, especially actively star-forming galaxies, as well as exoplanets. He leads the local advocacy group Northampton City Lights; is the Massachusetts Chapter Leader for DarkSky; chairs the Light Pollution Sub-Committee of the American Astronomical Society's Committee for the Protection of Astronomy and the Space Environment; and is Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union's Commission on Site Protection (i.e., light pollution). He lives in Northampton with his family.

The Speaker Series is now at a new time and is a hybrid event.  The in-person location is the Northampton Senior Center.

View the full talk on NN"s YouTube channel here.