NEWS ADVISORY: MIT Students Attend International Mercury Talks

Monday, January 14, 2013
MIT News   (Browse all news)

Get the inside scoop and follow LIVE reports from Geneva by twitter and blog.


Ten MIT students are having an experience of a lifetime as they join officials from around the world for the fifth and final meeting to address global controls on mercury – taking place January 13-18 in Geneva, Switzerland. It is expected that a global treaty on mercury will be finalized during the talks.

Funded through part of a U.S. National Science Foundation grant, the students hope to help negotiators by presenting the latest scientific results (See more).

The students will be reporting on the progress of the talks and their experiences on their blog. Keep updated on the day-to-day action:

They’ll also be tweeting LIVE from Geneva. Follow them @MITMercury, #MITMercury.

They are joined by their instructor Noelle Selin, an assistant professor of engineering systems and atmospheric chemistry. Of the experience, Selin says: “Knowledge about the policy-making process is a critical skill for the next generation of scientists. This is a unique opportunity for science students to see treaty-making firsthand, at the history-making session that is expected to finalize a global mercury treaty.”

Student Leah Stokes, a PhD candidate in MIT’s Environmental Policy and Planning program says, "Attending the mercury treaty negotiations is a rare chance to see international environmental policy-making in action and learn how scientists and policymakers work together to produce results.”

Fellow student Julie van der Hoop, who is getting her doctorate in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, adds, "As a doctoral student who studies human interactions with marine mammals, I’m excited to observe the role of scientists at these negotiations to learn how to best share my own research in the future.  It's forums like this where I hope my work will have an impact someday. “

The other students attending include: Alice Alpert, PhD student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography; Ellen Czaika, PhD candidate in the Engineering Systems Division; Bethanie Edwards, PhD student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography; Amanda Giang, SM candidate in the Technology and Policy Program; Danya Rumore, PhD student in Environmental Policy and Planning; Rebecca Saari, PhD Candidate in Engineering Systems; Mark Staples, SM candidate in the Technology and Policy Program; and Philip Wolfe, PhD Candidate in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Learn more about the students and their instructor Noelle Selin Here.

Learn about the latest mercury research out of MIT: Strategies to Reduce Mercury Revealed Ahead of International Talks.

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