President’s Colleagues of DSU to host presentation on super volcanoes

Sharing his knowledge about super volcanoes, scientist Ron Smith will be the featured speaker at the next installment of the President’s Colleagues of Dixie State University meeting series.

Smith, an experienced lecturer and teacher, will present at noon on Feb. 3 in Lecture Hall 156 of Dixie State’s Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center, located on the Dixie Regional Medical Center campus at 1526 East Medical Center Drive. The meeting is free and open to the public.

In his President’s Colleagues lecture, Smith will explain how super volcanoes — massive volcanoes that have the potential to dramatically effect the global climate if they were to erupt — have altered the course of the earth's history. In fact, the eruption of Mount Toba on Sumatra reduced the entire human population to about 10,000 people 74,000 years ago. Closer to home, a super volcano erupted near Enterprise 20 million years ago.

Additionally, Smith will discuss the risks associated with super volcanoes today, such as the eight that are known to exist worldwide, including those located in Yellowstone National Park, central California and New Mexico. 

Smith’s teaching and lecturing career began when he was 9 years old and his farther took him to see a planetarium show at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Ten years later, Smith began giving formal planetarium shows at the observatory while pursuing an astronomy degree at the University of Southern California. After graduating, he began a 34-year teaching career in the California Community College system, which included serving as the director of the Tessmann Planetarium at Santa Ana College and then as a professor of astronomy at Santa Monica College and later at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The next meeting in the President’s Colleagues of DSU series, which will feature Stephan Snow, will take place at noon on March 2 in Dixie State’s Taylor Health Science Center. The series, established more than 20 years ago by former DSU President Douglas Alder, is a group of retired professors and other professionals. Alder, who also started DSU’s Honors Program, organized the group as a way to increase academic activities on campus.