Annual Simpson Lecture to focus on climatic, cultural history of El Niño in Peru

The climatic and cultural history of El Niño in Ancient Peru will be the focus of the 17th annual Geddes W. Simpson Lecture at the University of Maine on Sept. 19.

Daniel Sandweiss, a UMaine professor of anthropology and climate studies, will give a lecture titled “Climate, Catastrophe, Collapse? Using Climatic and Cultural History to Understand El Niño’s Role in Ancient Peru” at 4 p.m. in the McIntire Room of the Buchanan Alumni House.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Melissa Maginnis, 581.2806.

El Niño, the climatic anomaly that affects weather around the Pacific basin and beyond at irregular intervals, often spells catastrophe. This is especially true for Peru, where El Niño brings torrential rains to destroy crops and infrastructure on the desert coast.

The presentation is part of the Geddes W. Simpson Lecture Series, made possible by a fund established at the University of Maine Foundation in 2011 by Simpson’s family. Simpson was a well-respected faculty member whose 55-year career in the College of Life Sciences and the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station began in 1931. He chaired the Entomology Department from 1954 until his retirement in 1974. The lecture was established to support a series that highlights speakers who have provided significant insight into the area where science and history intersect.