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FAU’s Frontiers in Science Spring Lecture Series Continues with 'When the Desert Was Green'

BOCA RATON, FL (January 28, 2009) – Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science will continue its 2009 Spring Frontiers in Science public lecture series with a presentation by Dr. Farouk El Baz, research professor and director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.    El Baz will present “When the Desert Was Green,” on Friday, January 30 at 3:30 p.m., in FAU’s General Classroom North building, Room 101, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

In his presentation, El Baz will focus on the Sahara of North Africa, the largest desert belt in the world.   He will discuss data that indicates it experienced much wetter climate episodes 5,000 to 10,000 years ago, and each of these episodes left the imprint of courses of rivers and streams leading to depressions or basins which have collected water in the substrate.  

El Baz also will explain how the use of space data is ideal to map these features and how Shuttle Radar Topograph Mission (SRTM) allows three-dimensional-viewing of the surface.   North Darfur, a basin that held water as large as Lake Erie, is presently being investigated under the auspices of the United Nations for its groundwater potential because it would ameliorate the suffering of local populations, help sustain peace and provide hope for economic sustainability in a troubled region.

“I am delighted to address the Frontiers in Science audience, particularly on a topic that illustrates the use of science in the service of humanity, providing water to those who need it most,” said El Baz.

 This lecture is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and supported by FAU’s Lifelong Learning Society Endowed Professorship.

            The reception that follows the program is made possible by the Warren Lloyd Holtzman Seed Grant, a component of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.

For more information, contact Patsy Jones at 561-297-1307 or


Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts ten colleges:  College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Barry Kaye College of Business, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College,  the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.   

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