Acid Rain: A long and unfinished journey from discovery to political action

The cause of acid rain was hotly debated for many years after its discovery in 1963. A lack of long-term or large-scale experimental data prevented action on this politically charged environmental issue.

Professor Gene Likens co-founded the internationally renowned Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study which provided evidence of a clear relationship between sulphur dioxide emissions and acid rain in the USA. Political action, however, lagged some 27 years behind the discovery.

Professor Likens will discuss his battles with policy makers, and draw strong parallels with action on climate change today.

Professor Likens is a world leading ecologist best known for his discovery of acid rain in North America with colleagues, for co-founding of the internationally renowned Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, and for founding the Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Likens was awarded the 2001 National Medal of Science, the 2003 Blue Planet Prize (with F. H. Bormann), and the 2017 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Ecology and Conservation Biology. Likens was the sole recipient of the 1994 Australia Prize for Science and Technology.

Date & time

6.30–7.30pm 19 February 2019


Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra


Professor Gene Likens



Updated:  22 July 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Coordinator