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Released April 19, 2004



HANCOCK -- Lord Julian Hunt, a prominent climate physics scientist from the United Kingdom, recently presented a seminar at The University of Southern Mississippi's Center of Higher Learning at the John C. Stennis Space Center. In addition to speaking about natural disaster forecasting, Lord Hunt discussed possible collaborative research efforts with scientists at Stennis Space Center. The visit, held March 28, also included a reception held in Lord Hunt's honor.

A former director of the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, Lord Hunt has also served as chairman of the Scientific Program Committee for the European Research Community for Flow, Turbulence and Combustion and as president of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. In recognition of his outstanding scientific and political contributions, Lord Hunt was made a baron in 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II.

During his seminar, Lord Hunt explained how science has contributed toward mitigating the devastating effects of natural disasters, such as the dynamics of hurricanes and volcanic eruptions. He further reviewed ways in which research and knowledge have been applied more effectively to improve forecasts and warnings of hurricanes, storms, heat waves, floods and volcano hazards.

Lord Hunt emphasized that there is a continued reluctance internationally to utilize information that is freely available. He also added that there are some scientists who communicate their predictions both informally and prematurely.

One of the successful examples he highlighted in his presentation was the 30 percent reduction over the decade in the errors for predicting the location of tropical cyclones up to five days in advance. Lord Hunt pointed out that in many countries, the insurance industry is now supporting research into natural disasters. Scientists, he said, should pay greater attention to research on phenomenon relating to natural disasters.

During the afternoon, Lord Hunt participated in a discussion about potential collaborative research projects with the Center of Higher Learning (Dr. Shahr Sajjadi), the Naval Research Laboratory (Dr. Todd Holland) and Arizona State University (Dr. Joe Fernando). Later that evening, a reception in Lord Hunt's honor was held at the residence of Dr. Peter Ranelli, director of the Center of Higher Learning. Guests included Dr. Tim Hudson, Southern Miss Gulf Coast provost, Dr. Robert Lochhead, dean of Southern Miss's College of Science and Technology, and Rear Admiral Thomas Donaldson of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command.


OCEAN SPRINGS -- Award-winning wildlife photographer Tom Ulrich will lead two photographic events at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on Wednesday, March 10.

He will present a nature photography workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then a talk and slide show called "Wildlife Images 2003" at 7 p.m., both at The University of Southern Mississippi GCRL.

Admission to the evening event is free and will be held in the Caylor Auditorium at GCRL. The veteran photographer will feature photos from his 2003 photographic safaris abroad and in North America. He will answer questions and sign his books during the reception following his slide show.

The registration fee for the all-day workshop is $50 per person, payable to GCRL. Registration includes a continental breakfast, light lunch and snacks. Participation is limited to 20. Though the workshop is geared toward beginners, Ulrich tailors the experience to meet needs for all degrees of skill.

"The beginners will definitely benefit from the workshop, but I always help the more advanced get something out of it also," Ulrich said. "I lead many photo trips and always find a wide range of levels."

Ulrich said participants do not need to bring their photographic equipment unless they need an explanation about some aspect of their equipment.

Topics include a brief review of the principles of photography, relationships between shutter and aperture settings, fundamental elements of composition, use and timing of fill-in flash, digital versus film photography, techniques of close-up photography, and a brief discussion of slide etiquette, the photography business and marketing.

Ulrich grew up in South Chicago, graduated with a degree in biology from Southern Illinois University and taught for four years before launching his career as a freelance photographer. He has supported himself with nature photography for the past 29 years.

His library of more than 300,000 transparencies includes birds and mammals from all over the world. His photographs have been featured in publications such as National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Montana Outdoors and Life.

He has published six nature books, including Mammals of the Rockies, Birds of the Northern Rockies, Once Upon a Frame and his 2002 release, Photo Pantanal. Dr. William E. Hawkins, GCRL executive director, said Ulrich brings the scientific and artistic worlds together.

"Tom earns his living photographing wildlife all over the world," Hawkins sad. "He is an outstanding observer and a biologist. His approach to photography is to capture his subjects exhibiting their natural behavior."

The GCRL is home to the university's Department of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium is also a unit of the laboratory. The GCRL is part of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology. For more information, call the laboratory at (228) 872-4200.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM