Arlene Blum to Discuss 'A Climbing Life' Oct. 15 at Alumni Hall

September 24, 2009 — Noted biophysical chemist, author and mountaineer Arlene Blum will share photos and stories from her memoir, "Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life," on Oct. 15, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the University of Virginia's Alumni Hall.

Building on her own experience achieving extremely demanding objectives, Blum will discuss how to define worthwhile goals, manage logistics and finances, select a winning team, deal with group dynamics in stressful situations, anticipate and solve problems, maximize successes and overcome failures.

The event is open to graduate students and faculty. Lunch is provided. RSVP to

Blum also will give a talk the same day at 4 p.m. in Clark Hall, room 108, which will focus on her work in the environmental health policy area regarding flame retardants. This talk, open to the public, is co-hosted by the Department of Environmental Sciences.

Blum is the founder and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a visiting scholar in chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley.

Beginning with removing cancer-causing chemicals from children's sleepwear in the 1970s, Blum's work to bring science into regulatory decisions has stopped the use of hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals.

Blum holds a doctorate in biophysical chemistry, and has also taught at Stanford University and Wellesley College.

She led the first American and all-women's ascent of Annapurna I, among the world's most dangerous and difficult mountains. She also led the first women's team up Mount McKinley; was the first American woman to attempt Mount Everest; made the first traverse of the Great Himalaya Range of Bhutan, Nepal and India; and hiked the length of the European Alps with her baby daughter on her back.

The noon event is sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, the Page-Barbour Fund via the Plastic Project, the Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Development.