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Tuesday, April 22, 2014
8:00 pm

Mike Farrell in Dr. Keeling's Curve

Buy General Public Tickets
For other ticket types, please contact the Ticket Office.

Just Added: Join us for special pre-show activities, too!

This Earth Day, the issue of global climate changes takes center stage in a compelling new one-man show by George Shea.

Noted actor and activist Mike Farrell plays Dr. David Keeling, the scientist whose research on CO2 gave the world its first early warnings of global warming. In this highly acclaimed performance, Farrell brings to life the quirky and brilliant man who created the Keeling Curve, the iconic chart that illustrates the rise in atmospherice CO2 levels from 1958 to the present.

The story combines Keeling's personal journey with the insights of atmospheric scientists who, hundreds of years earlier, made discoveries that laid the foundations for Keeling's own extraordinary work. We meet Jean Joseph Baptiste Fourier whose obsession with heat led to an understanding of the greenhouse effect, and Svante Arrhenius who proved a link between global warming and CO2. The play paints very human portraits of these and other great scientists.

The audience is invited to stay for a dynamic post-show discussion when Mike Farrell and George Shea are joined onstage by a distinguished panel:

  • Paul Wennberg, R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering & Total Carbon Column Observing Network, Caltech
  • Jess Adkins, Professor of Geochemistry and Global Environmental Science, Caltech
  • Eric Fetzer, Project Scientist for the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder project, JPL
  • Dave Schimel, Senior Scientist and Lead Scientist for Carbon and Ecosystems, NASA-JPL, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Nobel 2007)
  • Ralph Keeling, Director of the Scripps CO2 Program and son of David Keeling

About Actor Mike Farrell

Best known for his eight years on M*A*S*H as Army Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt and five years on Providence as Dr. Jim Hansen, Mike Farrell is also a writer, director and producer. He is a co-chair emeritus of Human Rights Watch in Southern California, spokesperson for Concern America, and co-founder of Artists United to Win Without War. As president of Death Penalty Focus, he speaks, writes, and works to abolish capital punishment.

About Playwright George Shea

Author, environmental activist, and journalist George Shea learned about global warming firsthand in the late 1980s from novelist Kurt Vonnegut. Shea envisioned Dr. Keeling's Curve as an effective, entertaining way to explain global warming to a confused and badly misled American public.

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Buy General Public Tickets
For other ticket types, please contact the Ticket Office.

Special Pre-Show Activities


At 6:00pm, JPL scientists Josh Fisher and David Crisp will host an "Ask a Climate Scientist" event which will be broadcast live on Ustream with a web-chat! If you can't come to the event, join the "Ask a Climate Scientist" event via web-chat! The link will be open and unrestricted during the "Ask a Climate Scientist" broadcast. Tweet about it using hashtag #CaltechCO2.

At 6:30pm, a team of graduate students and scientists from Caltech and JPL will use iPads and interactive apps developed at Caltech to engage audience and community members with surprising, fascinating aspects of climate change through interactive visuals, simulations, and more. Ernie's Al Fresco food truck and Rose City Coffee will be on the scene!


For tickets and information, email, call 626-395-4652, or visit
Ticket price: $5 students; $20 Caltech faculty & staff, seniors & teachers; $35 general public.
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