Lecture on Thoreau

 Keene State College Department of Environmental Studies


Thoreau: Self-Taught Watershed Scientist

Robert Thorson, PhD

Professor of Geology, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut

Thursday, September 5, 2013, 4:00-5:00PM—Morrison 110

This talk will preview Dr. Thorson’s new book—Walden’s Shore—which explores Thoreau’s understanding of hard reality, not as metaphor but as physical science. Dr. Thorson will describe Thoreau’s astonishing understanding of New England landscapes, relating specific passages from Thoreau’s writing with the underlying physical science, including hydrology, river geomorphology, bedrock geology, limnology, meteorology, and glaciation. By unifying the physical science with the literature, this talk is founded in Thoreau’s fundamental idea of unification between head and heart.

Dr. Thorson is a professor of Geology at UConn, with appointments in the Geoscience and Honors programs, and is the author of several books. His first book—Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England’s Stone Walls—is a regional bestseller and Connecticut Book Award winner for nonfiction. His second book on signature landforms—Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America’s Kettle Lakes and Ponds—precipitated keynote speeches to national lake management associations, a freshwater road trip titled “Walden to Wobegon,” and the creation of a website in support of small lake conservation. Dr. Thorson advocates for the preservation of historic landscapes, speaking at venues ranging from small historical societies to the NASA Engineering Colloquium. He is an opinion journalist and has published nearly 500 columns and essays. His newest book is due to be released by Harvard University Press in December 2013, and it can be previewed on their website at http://www.hup.harvard.edu.

For more information contact

Renate Gebauer (rgebauer@keene.edu) or Denise Burchsted (dburchsted@keene.edu)