Lawrence Hipps Spotlighted At Inaugural Professor Lecture
As part of the Inaugural Professor Lecture Series initiated this year by the Office of the President and Office of the Provost, Utah State University's Lawrence Hipps from the department of Plants, Soils and Biometeorology, was honored March 4 at the University Residence by family, friends and colleagues for his recent promotion to full professorship.
After introductions by President Kermit Hall, Provost Stan Albrecht and Plants, Soils and Biometeorology Department Head Larry Rupp, Hipps addressed the group with insight from his career, and said his interest in biometeorology dated back to when he was 10 and his house was destroyed by a tornado.
"My mother had purchased a barometer for me, and as I checked it after dinner one evening, I found the pressure to be unusually low," Hipps said. "I sat confused for a moment, and ten seconds later the house was destroyed."
Hipps said that in spite of the potentially dangerous event, he pursued biometeorology further as a career, and explained that most people seem confused about what exactly he does for a living. After defining biometeorology for the audience as interactions between the biosphere and atmosphere of the planet, Hipps followed with more detailed information about various aspects of his studies and findings. He also jested that although his findings seem well-structured and organized as a final product, the behind-the-scenes process of his research is much more tedious and hectic. "It's more like ordered chaos," Hipps said.
Hipps' lecture, though lighthearted at times, was informative and thought provoking, as many of the guests put it. The final minutes of his lecture were spent discussing new approaches to understanding the Earth system, as Hipps explained that over time he has become disenchanted with the way scholars approach science.
"We were treating a system that is elegant and seamless like a system that was stuck together with super glue," Hipps said. "Nature is not partitioned; it is continuous and seamless. Many of us think only dualistically and view the world in pieces or fragments, which limits us in our connection with nature and the world."
Hipps' cutting-edge ideas and theories, which he jokingly blamed for his delayed promotion, captured the attention of guests in attendance, as professor Janis Boettinger expressed.
"It's encouraging to have someone from a recognized discipline say, 'It's OK to look within and make connections,'" Boettinger said.
Hipps, who has been at Utah State since 1982, earned his doctorate in atmospheric science from the University of California-Davis and is currently a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the National Institute of Global Environmental Change.
For more information about the IP lecture series, contact Chris Fawson at (435) 797-0979.