Plenary Speakers

The Third International Conference on Science in Society will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations, by researchers and practitioners.

Stephen J. DeCanio
Sandra L. Hanson
Chris Impey
Fred D. Ledley

Garden Conversation Sessions

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations – unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.


The Speakers

Stephen J. DeCanio

Stephen J. DeCanio is Professor of Economics, Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara. Much of Professor DeCanio’s research has dealt with global environmental protection. He has written about both the contributions and misuse of economics to debates over long-run policy problems such as climate change and stratospheric ozone layer protection. Professor DeCanio has written extensively on corporate organization and behavior as it pertains to the adoption of energy-efficient technologies. His most recent book, Economic Models of Climate Change: A Critique (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003) discusses some of the limitations of conventional general equilibrium models when applied to climate policy. His current research focuses on the consequences of the limits of computation for social theory.

From 1986 to 1987 DeCanio was Senior Staff Economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. He has been a member of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Economic Options Panel, which reviewed the economic aspects of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and served as Co-Chair of the Montreal Protocol’s Agricultural Economics Task Force of the Technical and Economics Assessment Panel. He participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and was a recipient of the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought in 2007. In 1996 he received a Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award, and in 2007 a “Best of the Best” Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Professor DeCanio was Director of the UCSB Washington Program from 2004 to 2009. He is a member of the E3 Network (Economics for Equity and the Environment), and has contributed to RealClimateEconomics.org.


Sandra L. Hanson
Professor of Sociology and Research Fellow at Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, The Catholic University of America. Dr. Hanson’s research examines the gender structure of educational and occupational systems in a comparative context. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Hanson has authored numerous research articles appearing in journals including, Public Opinion Quarterly, Sociology of Education, Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, and European Sociological Review.  Her book Swimming Against the Tide: African American Girls in Science Education (Philadelphia: Temple University Press: 2009) examines the experiences of African American girls in the science education system. Dr. Hanson’s earlier book, Lost Talent: Women in the Sciences (Temple University Press: 1996), was a culmination of her research on the loss of talented young women in the science pipeline.

Chris Impey
Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor and Deputy Head of the Department, in charge of all academic programs. His research interests are observational cosmology, gravitational lensing, and the evolution and structure of galaxies. He has 160 refereed publications and 60 conference proceedings, and his work has been supported by $20 million in grants from NASA and the NSF. As a professor, he has won eleven teaching awards, and he has been heavily involved in curriculum and instructional technology development. Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society. He has also been an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and the Carnegie Council on Teaching’s Arizona Professor of the Year. Impey has written over thirty popular articles on cosmology and astrobiology and co-authored two introductory textbooks. His first popular book “The Living Cosmos,” was published in 2007 by Random House, and his second, called “How It Ends,” was published in 2010 by Norton. He was a co-chair of the Education and Public Outreach Study Group for the Astronomy Decadal Survey of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Fred D. Ledley
Fred D. Ledley, M.D. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences at Bentley College, in Waltham, MA. A recognized opinion leader in the integration of molecular and genomic science with medicine, business, society, and education, he has authored >150 papers and numerous patent applications in fields ranging from molecular and human genetics and gene therapy to bioethics and biopharmaceutical developement. He served on the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and also has extensive experience in the biopharmaceutical industry as the founder and senior executive of several pioneering companies in the areas of gene therapy and personalized medicine. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the Board of Overseers of Boston Children’s Hospital, as an organizer for an NIH-funded “Genetics, Religion, and Ethics” program and as Core Scholar of the New Visions of Nature, Science, and Religion program at UC Santa Barbara. At Bentley University, he teaches Futurism, Human Biology, and the Management of Technology, and leads a research program focused on accelerating the pace of translating scientific discoveries for public benefit. His first novel Sputnik’s Child, to be published in the fall, recalls the events that shaped the ideas and lives of the baby boom generation and laid the groundwork for an age of technology and its challenges.