GOLDEN, Colo., May 9, 2016 – The Mines chapter of the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) recently brought best-selling author Alex Epstein to campus. On April 26, 2016, as the 2nd annual AADE Keynote Speaker, Epstein delivered a talk based on his New York Times Best-Selling book: The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. The chairs were filled with eager students and faculty from Mines’ petroleum engineering department, as well as local members of AADE and industry professionals.

Epstein’s talk opened new doors in the fossil fuel debate, bravely tackling the issue with what he calls a “humanist” approach, which largely combats the typical “environmentalist” approach of demonizing “Big Oil”. Epstein argues that people must realize that fossils fuels have and continue to be one of the most reliable and cost-effective sources of energy in the world, and utilizing them allows the developing world to thrive. As a humanist, he explains, he realizes the positive impact that fossil fuels have had on technology, medicine, and ultimately human life. “Alex Epstein is a rare voice challenging the putative tide of anti-hydrocarbon sentiment,” says Taylor Carlson, President of the Mines chapter of AADE. “We wanted to bring him in to encourage honest intellectual evaluation of a hotly debated topic, especially because our students are tied to the energy sector and work so hard to be great engineers, but often lack a true understanding of the moral/ethical foundations of the profession.”

Having a vested interest in the industry, the audience at Mines was exceptionally engaged by Epstein’s unique approach. Closing with, “We need to change the bias we have in our thinking that changing the planet is bad,” Epstein left the audience in a pensive and engaged state, thinking about the future. They were also left with many questions, which were fielded by a distinguished panel of experts. The panel consisted of industry professionals Todd Poulson (Integrated Petroleum Systems Inc.) and Rick Davis (AADE Board of Directors), Jeffco Energy Action Project’s Joni Inman, and Mines professors William Fleckenstein (PE) and Christian Shorey (GE).


See photos from the event in the slideshow below.




Agata Bogucka, Information Specialist, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu


Colorado School of Mines Department of Mining Engineering Professor Masami Nakagawa recently brought together two indigenous cultures from the United States and Bolivia to discuss development of natural resources.

The Navajo Nation is a sovereign Native American nation occupying the largest land area of all Native American nations in the U.S.; the Aymara are an indigenous nation in the Andes and Altiplano of South America – both are seeking balanced and sustainable sources of energy.

Enter Nakagawa, who works on building capacity for geothermal resource development and has been focused on sustainable energy initiatives in Bolivia, Peru and El Salvador. During this initial meeting, representatives from the two cultures discussed various options and challenges associated with this development in their native lands.

“Geothermal offers not only power generation, but by using the heat (without even generating electricity) geothermal resources offer many ways to build local businesses that are green and sustainable,” he said, noting that he is currently working on a Navajo GeoPark project that focuses on capacity building through geothermal/solar assisted greenhouses. 

The project will continue into the summer, when Nakagawa will lead a delegation of indigenous people to Bolivia. A group of five from the U.S. (including three Navajo and two from Mines) will visit the capital city of La Paz, Cochabamba, Sala de Uyuni, and a small town called Tocana, where they will discuss sustainable energy solutions.

Nakagawa serves as a Fulbright Specialist on energy and sustainability for Latin and South American countries. This project is funded by the U.S. Department of State.


Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu
Agata Bogucka, Information Specialist, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu

GOLDEN, Colo., Feb. 12, 2016 – Colorado School of Mines recently hosted a panel in conjunction with the Jeffco Energy Action Project, the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, and Vital for Colorado, focused on the recent lift of the crude oil export ban in the U.S. and the impact on Colorado’s oil and gas economy.

Imagining cookie crumbs as dirt and gummy worms as organic matter, Colorado School of Mines students introduced elementary school students to the concept of oil and gas formation in one of several science demonstrations held during the 6th Annual Math & Science Night at Shelton Elementary on Nov. 4.

Mines students had a large presence at the math and science expo: The Water-Energy, Science and Technology (WE²ST) Center ran nine stations and several other Mines student organizations also participated. Shelton’s Math & Science Night provides parents and students a fun, engaging and hands-on learning environment with the goal to get students excited about math and science.

Karen Brown, principal of Shelton, attributed the success of the program to the participation of Mines students. “We are so thrilled to have built a partnership with Mines and its students,” said Brown.

“Since its inception, Shelton’s Math and Science Night has always been well attended because of the expertise and fun the Mines students, as well as other presenters, bring to the table,” Brown continued. “They are also great role models for our students.”

According to Andrea Blaine, assistant director of WE²ST, “one of the strongest aspects of WE²ST’s participation was our ability to establish a meaningful connection between Mines and the larger community. Our presence at the event allowed us to educate children and adults on important current environmental topics, such as water and energy, in a non-threatening, fun atmosphere.”

In addition to the edible “fossil fuels” demonstration, students used a four-foot square model to see the paths of water within a watershed and community at the EnviroScape station and received hands-on experience learning about osmosis, the properties of gasses, aquifer sand tanks, and water use in the U.S. compared to other countries.

“It really is fantastic and wonderful that Shelton offers this type of thing,” said Alison Bodor, a Shelton Elementary School parent, who complimented WE²ST in particular on their organization.

Mines Blasterbotica Team, dressed like cowboys for the event’s Wild West theme, also had a large number of participants. They demonstrated how robots could be used for mining in space exploration.

Mines’ Nao robot, “Gold,” was a star attraction for the children. Mechanical Engineering Professor John Steele encouraged his student Steven Emerson to participate and showcase the robot.

“She was a big hit. The kids seemed a little awestruck when she did her choreographed demo,” Emerson said. He also noted that teaming up with the Mines Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) chapter helped, as they provided other demos that allowed the robot time to cool off between groups of children.

Mines Society of Geophysicists, Society of Physics Students, Society of Women Engineers, the Integrated GroundWater Modeling Center at Mines, and the Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) Research Center also set up hands-on learning demonstrations for the students of Shelton Elementary School.


Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu


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