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08-16-2013

New York Times Bestselling Author of Quirky Science Mary Roach to Speak at Clarkson University Convocation August 25

Mary Roach, called "America's funniest science writer" by the Washington Post, will deliver the Van Sickle Endowed Lecture as Clarkson University celebrates the start of the 2013-2014 academic year with a convocation on Sunday, August 25, at 7 p.m. in Cheel Arena. The event is open to the public free of charge.

Mary RoachRoach's book Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void was this year's first-year student common reading assignment. The convocation will be conducted in a conversation format.

In Packing for Mars, Roach explores space, "a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy and beer." She answers questions like: What happens to you when you can't walk for a year? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a spacewalk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 4,000 miles per hour?

In the New York Times bestselling author's most recent book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Roach introduces her readers to the scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks -- or has the courage -- to ask, like: How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? Can wine tasters really tell a $10 bottle?

Her other books include Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex; and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife.

Packing for Mars is a New York Times Editor's Choice and a One City, One Book selection for San Francisco. Stiff has been translated into 23 languages, and Spook was a New York Times Notable Book.

Roach has written for National Geographic, Wired, New Scientist, the New York Times Book Review, the Journal of Clinical Anatomy, and Outside, among others.

She serves as a member of the Mars Institute's Advisory Board and the Usage Panel of American Heritage Dictionary. Her 2009 TED talk made the organization's 2011 Twenty Most-Watched to Date list. She was the guest editor of the 2011 Best American Science and Nature Writing, and a winner of the American Engineering Societies' Engineering Journalism Award.

Roach grew up in Etna, N.H., and now resides in Oakland, Calif.

Clarkson's opening convocation is a ceremony where all members of the academic community come together to usher in the new academic year. It is also an opportunity to welcome the newest students to the campus and initiate their connection to Clarkson’s traditions and the various constituencies of the University community.

The Kenneth J. and Irla Van Sickle Endowed Lectureship was established in 1992 through generous bequests from the estates of Kenneth and Irla Van Sickle of Shortsville, N.Y. The Van Sickles shared interests in photography, gardening, nature and stamp collecting. During their long and active lives, the Van Sickles were dedicated to hard work, placing great value on education, particularly higher education.

For more information, please contact Tamera Rizk at 315-268-6680 or trizk@clarkson.edu .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: New York Times Bestselling Author Mary Roach (above) will deliver the Van Sickle Endowed Lecture as Clarkson University celebrates the start of the 2013-2014 academic year with a convocation on Sunday, August 25, at 7 p.m. in Cheel Arena.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/mroach.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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