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08-26-1999

Clarkson University's Hinchman Returns From Fulbright In Germany

Lewis P. Hinchman of Canton, professor of Liberal Arts at Clarkson University, has recently returned from Germany, where he did research on environmental protection and alternative energy sources as part of a William J. Fulbright grant.

During the German Fulbright seminar, Hinchman and 30 scholars, researchers, and businesspeople visited six German cities —Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, Wismar— and met with a variety of people connected with the themes of the seminar, including government officials, members of parliament, energy researchers, businessmen who make environmental related products and alternative energy sources, and university professors.

The purpose of the seminar, according to Hinchman, was for him and his colleagues to get a better understanding of how Germany, one of America’s chief trading partners, is coping with its own environmental problems and how it is trying to meet the deadlines set by the Kyoto treaty.

“The United States  was once a leader in alternative energy technology during the energy crisis of the late ‘70s, but we forfeited our lead when energy prices fell during the 1980s,” said Hinchman.  “European countries, especially Germany, Austria, Holland and Denmark, have continued to do research and to craft laws that encourage alternative forms of energy as well as to keep energy prices high via taxation —a gallon of gas in Germany, for example, costs about $3.50.

“Germany plans to have some 4000 wind turbines in operation by 2005 and is sponsoring a program that will subsidize homeowners who want to put photovoltaic cells on their roofs,” he continued.  “A lot of this has to do with meeting the requirements of the Kyoto Treaty  —which Germany signed and we did not— that is intended to reduce greenhouse emissions and thus combat global warming.  The Germans I talked to were shocked that we Americans are not taking global warming seriously, and cannot understand why we —with our excellent sites for wind power and abundant sunshine for
solar — have not done more to promote alternative energy.“

"This is maybe something Clarkson should get interested in, both in terms of academic programs and in terms of campus policies. Has anyone ever asked how we got our energy? Whether we could be more efficient? Whether we could use passive solar? Wind? These are good questions to consider."

Hinchman came to Clarkson in 1981.  Previously, he taught philosophy at SUNY Potsdam and government at St. Lawrence University.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. Government's flagship international educational exchange program, and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.  With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program provides "Fulbrighters" chosen for their leadership potential with the opportunity to observe other political and economic institutions and cultures, exchange ideas, and embark on joint ventures of importance to the world's population.  Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by former Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, approximately 220,000 "Fulbrighters," 82,000 from the United States and 138,000 from abroad, have participated in the Program.  About 4,200 new grants are awarded annually.  Fulbright alumni include Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, governors and senators, ambassadors and artists, prime ministers and heads of state, professors and scientists, Supreme Court justices and CEOs.

[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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