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Renowned Plant Physiologist Graham Farquhar to Speak at UC San Diego March 21

Part of the Kyoto Prize Symposium, the event is free and open to the public

Graham Farquhar, recipient of the 2017 Kyoto Prize in “Basic Sciences”

Renowned plant physiologist Graham Farquhar, Ph.D., will speak at the University of California San Diego at 3:30 p.m. on March 21 as part of the annual Kyoto Prize Symposium. Farquhar received the 2017 Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement, in the area of “Basic Sciences” for his contributions to environmental science and climate change science. His work has led to advances in drought resistant crops and has furthered understanding of how water evaporation in plants affects climate change.

The Kyoto Prize Symposium will feature the public talk by Farquhar in the Price Center West Ballroom on the UC San Diego campus. In addition, UC San Diego will bring high school students—many from underserved communities—to campus for the talk. The goal is to introduce them to the university and the idea of pursuing a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

“UC San Diego is proud to participate in the Kyoto Prize Symposium, an event that honors scientists, scholars and artists who have significantly contributed to the betterment of humankind,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Dr. Farquhar’s talk is sure to inspire our next generation of scientists and innovators.”

Farquhar has created process-based models of photosynthesis and has advanced understanding of how plants work, how much water they need, and how much they can grow as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increase. His work is credited with improving global food security by laying the foundation for developing strains of wheat and other crops that can grow with far less water. His research has also advanced understanding of water evaporation in plants and how this process impacts climate change.

In addition to research, Farquhar has contributed to the development of science-based policies as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and as a scientific adviser to the Australian representative to the Kyoto Protocol negotiations.

A distinguished professor at the Australian National University, Farquhar is the first Australian to receive the Kyoto Prize. He has also been recognized with the Humboldt Research Award, Australia’s Prime Minister’s Prize for Science and Britain’s prestigious Rank Prize. He is a member of the Australian Academy of Science, National Academy of Sciences and Royal Society.

Farquhar’s presentation is one in the three-part Kyoto Prize Symposium hosted jointly by UC San Diego with the University of San Diego, San Diego State University and Point Loma Nazarene University. In addition to Farquhar, the 2017 Kyoto Prize laureates include:

  • In “Advanced Technology,” Takashi Mimura, a world-leading semiconductor engineer. Mimura invented the High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT), leading to significant advancements in information and communications technology. Today, HEMTs are widely used in high-frequency products such as wireless communications networks, satellite television receivers, voltage converters and radar equipment. Mimura will speak at San Diego State University at 10 a.m. on March 21.
  • In “Arts and Philosophy,” Richard Taruskin, one of the world’s preeminent musicologists. Taruskin’s revolutionary approach to early music, modern Russian music and Western music history inspires and fascinates music scholars and music lovers worldwide. He has pioneered a new realm of music research, issuing sharp critical analysis backed by exhaustive knowledge of diverse fields. His perspective has influenced both performance and study, elevating the importance of critical discourse to the music world. He will present at the University of San Diego at 10:30 a.m. on March 22.

Established by the Inamori Foundation in 1984, the Kyoto Prize strives to honor significant contributions to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of humankind. The president of this nonprofit organization is Kazuo Inamori, founder of both Kyocera and KDDI Corporation, and honorary adviser of Japan Airlines.

The March 21 talk with Farquhar will take place in UC San Diego’s Price Center West Ballroom from 3:30 to 5 p.m. For more information and to register, please visit

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