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Press Release

Lisa L. Kirchner

For immediate release:
October 17, 2002

National Book Award Nominee, Carnegie Mellon Professor Devra Davis to Give Lecture about Pivotal Environmental Events

PITTSBURGH—Devra Lee Davis, a renowned epidemiologist and visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University, will bring the story of two pivotal environmental events to campus on Nov.4 when she discusses "Backs to the Future: The Secret History of Figuring out how the Environment Shapes Life, Death, and Sex."

Davis' lecture, which takes place Nov. 4, at 4:30 p.m. in the Adamson Wing of Baker Hall on the Carnegie Mellon campus, is based on her book "When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution." Limited copies will be available for signing at a reception following the lecture. The reception is being co-sponsored by the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham College.

"When Smoke Ran Like Water," an account of the way the environment affects our health, has been nominated for a National Book Award in the non-fiction category.

Davis, who is on the faculty of the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, is a renowned epidemiologist and researcher on environmental health, and chronic disease. Her research has appeared in scientific journals such as Science and Nature.

Carnegie Mellon's role in researching air pollution will be highlighted in the lecture, and Davis will show footage of lethal air pollution in 1948 in Donora, located in Pittsburgh's Monongahela Valley. She will also discuss the impact of air pollution in London in 1952, when an estimated 12,000 people succumbed to polluted air. "When Smoke Ran Like Water" discusses both of these well-known cases of air pollution, and also outlines other health problems and issues due to pollution in society.

Davis is the author of more than 160 publications in books and journals. She is a founder of the International Breast Cancer Prevention Collaborative Research Group, an organization that explores and researches the causes of breast cancer.

The United Nations Climate Convention, which asked her to be a lead author for their assessment of climate mitigation policies, has recognized Davis. The American Cancer Society has given Davis the Breast Cancer Awareness Award, and the National Cancer Institute has commended her for Outstanding Service.

For more information about the University Lecture Series, contact Cathy Ribarchak, 412-268-8677 or Niloo Sobhani, 412-268-1503.


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