Jared Cohon's personal statement-Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research - Carnegie Mellon University

photoJared Cohon

Civil and Environmental Engineering
Engineering and Public Policy
President, CMU

Environmental problem solving is complicated. The problems with which we must deal are themselves complicated, whether we are focused on water supply issues in China, air equality in Sao Paolo or disposing of nuclear waste in the United States. In each case, we are faced with a large, complex system, the components and interactions of which must be understood for sound problem solving. This requires a systems view, which can be supported by the use of the mathematical tools of systems analysis. Added to the complexity of the environmental system itself is the complicated nature of decision-making processes. Environmental problems are always characterized by multiple, conflicting objectives and, typically, by multiple, conflicting interest groups. There are mathematical tools that can help with this aspect of the problem, as well. I’m interested in the development and application of systems analysis techniques for environmental problems. As president of the university, I do not have the opportunity to teach, except for guest lectures, or do research, except for “vicarious” research as an occasional member of a doctoral committee. Still, my interests remain strong, and I always enjoy informal interactions with students.