Hot Topics in Science: Some Details of a Water Quality Engineering Debate and the Questionable Format of Formal Scientific Debate
Dr. Rich Wildman
Quest University Canada, Tutor
One of Rich’s favorite things is the use of computer simulations (i.e., models) to describe the water quality of a lake or reservoir. A recent paper laid out damaging criticisms to the way this was done at a specific location (Long Lake, a reservoir on the Spokane River in Washington) and, by extension, to the modeling approach in general. The modelers replied with a formal comment that argued against that paper, and the paper’s authors replied to that comment. This talk will examine what they were arguing about so that audience members can get a clear picture of what a modern debate looks like in water quality engineering. Then, we’ll move our discussion to what that debate should look like and whether its current form benefits anyone other than a fraction of the already small number of specialists who can understand it.