Schedule & Events

Keynotes and Plenaries

#AGU22 will feature an exciting array of plenary talks and panels covering a diverse range of Earth and space science and science-society topics. World-leading scientists and leaders will weave in the theme "Science Leads the Future" in their remarks to show how important science is to everything, from public science efforts to highlighting how to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion and from the future of universities to new areas of convergent science.

Visit this page regularly to see the latest keynote speaker announcements.

Carlos Alvarado Quesada
48th President of Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Presidential Keynote Lecture
Monday, 12 December 2022
10:30AM (CT)
Grand Ballroom, McCormick Place

President Carlos Alvarado is the 48th President of the Republic of Costa Rica. He was inaugurated into office on May 9, 2018. He was born in San José, Costa Rica on January 14, 1980, and is a professor, politician and author. He studied journalism at the University of Costa Rica, and holds a master’s degree in Political Science from the same university and has a master’s degree in Development Studies from the University of Sussex in England.

President Alvarado is an expert in communication, public policy and public-private partnerships with five years of experience in political communication and parliamentary advisory. He has taught communication at the School of Social Science at the University of Costa Rica and the Latina University of Costa Rica. He also served as an advisor to the Citizen Action Party's group in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica f rom 2006 to 2010. During the Solís Rivera administration, Alvarado served as Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion and Executive President of the Joint Social Welfare Institute, institution charged with combating poverty and giving state aid to the population of scarce resources. Then in 2016, Alvarado was appointed Minister of Labor and Social Security.

Shermann “Dilla” Thomas
Chicago Historian
Chicago, IL
Presidential Forum Lecture
Monday, 12 December 2022
12:45PM (CT)
Grand Ballroom, McCormick Place

Shermann “Dilla” Thomas is a fascinating blend of modern historian, cultural worker, and public employee. A life-long resident of Chicago’s south side Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, Dilla attended Calumet high but graduated from Olive-Harvey Middle College, an alternative high school located in a branch of the city colleges. He went on to study English and African American studies at Eastern Illinois University, where he was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. An employee of Chicago area power utility ComEd since 2011, Dilla began making Tik-Tok videos in an effort to bond with one of his 7 children. Like every parent, Shermann “Dilla” Thomas is always on the lookout for ways to engage his children. So when his then 8-year-old daughter suggested a father/daughter collaboration to produce Tik-Tok dance videos, he was both elated and perplexed. Elated at the opportunity to use social media as a medium to bond with his daughter; perplexed by the persistent thought that he might do something more substantive with his efforts to produce content.

Perhaps due to a yeoman effort to keep his dance moves off the internets, Dilla came up with the novel idea of producing short videos focusing on the history of Chicago. A subject he has been independently studying for 20 years. The rest of the story is, as they say, history. Dilla’s followers now have reached 83,000 on the platform, and he has tens of thousands on Twitter and Instagram. He is blue check verified on all 3 platforms. His name on social media, @6figga_dilla, comes from his love of the employment trades, as he believes that you can reach monetary success (or six figures) there just as quickly as if you became a doctor or a lawyer. Although Dilla’s focus is aimed squarely at underexposed aspects of Black Chicago, his work continually reveals the rich tapestry of Chicago's overall history. Anchored in the background as son of a policemen, Dilla's philosophy is "Everything Dope about America comes from Chicago, the greatest city on earth."

Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
Director of the Office of Science
U.S. Department of Energy
Agency Lecture
Wednesday, 14 December 2022
12:45PM (CT)
Grand Ballroom, McCormick Place

Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe is the Director of the Office of Science for the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Berhe was most recently a Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry; the Ted and Jan Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences and Geology; and Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Education at the University of California, Merced. Her research was at the intersection of soil science, global change science, and political ecology with an emphasis on how the soil system regulates the earth’s climate and the dynamic two-way relationship between the natural environment and human communities.

She previously served as the Chair of the US National Committee on Soil Science at the National Academies; was a Leadership board member for the Earth Science Women’s Network; and is currently a co-principal investigator in the ADVANCEGeo Partnership — a National Science Foundation funded effort to empower (geo)scientists to respond to and prevent harassment, discrimination, bullying and other exclusionary behaviors in research environments. Her scholarship on how physical processes such as erosion, fire, and changes in climate affect the biogeochemical cycling of essential elements in the earth system and her efforts to ensure equity and inclusion of people from all walks of life in the scientific enterprise have received numerous awards and honors. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, and a member of the inaugural class of the US National Academies New Voices in Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Berhe was born and raised in Asmara, Eritrea. She received a B.Sc. in Soil and Water Conservation from the University of Asmara, an M.Sc. in Political Ecology from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2020 she was named a Great Immigrant, Great American by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Dr. Carlos Nobre
Earth System Scientist
Frontiers of Geophysics Lecture
Thursday, 15 December 2022
09:00AM (CT)
Grand Ballroom, McCormick Place

Carlos Nobre is an Earth System scientist from Brazil, currently associated with Institute for Advanced Studies, USP. He obtained a PhD in Meteorology at MIT in 1983. Nobre’s work mostly focus on the Amazon and its impacts on the Earth system. He chaired the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA). He has been a co-author of several IPCC reports, including the 2007 report that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was director of Center of Weather Prediction and Climate Studies (CPTEC-INPE), and the creator of Center for Earth System Science (CCST-INPE) and of the National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN). He was National Secretary for R&D Policies at Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation and President of Brazil’s Agency for Post-Graduate Education (CAPES). He is co-chair of the Science Panel for the Amazon ( and the director of the Amazonia 4.0 project to promote a standing forest bioeconomy for the Amazon ( He was International Secretary of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He is a foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, and full member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and the World Academy of Sciences. He was awarded several prizes including the Volvo Environmental Prize and the AAAS Science Diplomacy Award.

Dr. Mika Tosca
Climate Scientist
Chicago, IL
Art & Science Plenary
Thursday, 15 December 2022
12:45PM (CT)
Grand Ballroom, McCormick Place

Dr. Mika Tosca is a trained climate scientist and Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She imagines ways that artists and designers can collaborate with climate scientists to better communicate and conduct climate science research.

She has been invited to speak on the role of scientists, artists, and citizens in building post-climate change worlds, and continues to be vocal about the urgency of addressing the climate crisis.

For this trans-disciplinary panel, we highlight five Midwest-based artists who create work in ecological and environmental spaces. Our panelists represent a broad range of artistic mediums and practices and will speak to how their art (and art in general) can inspire action on large questions such as climate change and science communication.
This panel and related art and science exhibitions (both virtual and in-person) are efforts organized by the Art and Science track in AGU’s Science and Society section to increase awareness of the value of art and science intersections to scientific discovery, communication, and to leading the future.


Sara Black (sculpture)
Kiku Hibino (sound) + Dr. Baudouin Saint-Yves (light)
Dr. Kim Blaser (poetry)
Terry Evans (photography)

Dr. Alexander Szalay
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Chicago, IL
Open Science Plenary (Pre-recorded)
Friday, 16 December 2022
12:45PM (CT)
Grand Ballroom, McCormick Place

Alexander Szalay is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at the Johns Hopkins University, with a joint appointment in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Computer Science. He is the Director of the Institute for Data Intensive Science and Engineering (IDIES). He is a cosmologist, working on the statistical measures of the spatial distribution of galaxies and galaxy formation. He has been the architect for the archive of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He is a Corresponding Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004 he received an Alexander Von Humboldt Award in Physical Sciences, in 2007 the Microsoft Jim Gray Award. In 2008 he became Doctor Honoris Causa of the Eotvos University, Budapest. In 2015 he received the Sidney Fernbach Award of the IEEE for his work on Data Intensive Computing. In 2020 he was awarded the Victor Ambartsumyan International Prize for his work in Physical Cosmology. In 2021 he was a member of the team receiving the ASM SIGMOD Systems prize for their work on the SDSS Archive. In 2021 he was one of the winners of the International Falling Walls Prize in Life Sciences for his work on cancer.