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Craig M. Pease

Professor of Science and Law

PhD, University of Chicago, 1985;
MS, University of California, Los Angeles, 1981;
BA, University of California, Los Angeles, 1977

Phone: 802-831-1307


Dr. Craig M. Pease, a research scientist, teaches science courses to Vermont Law School students, pursues his scientific research on population dynamics, works to improve the role of science in public policy and decision-making, and writes a regular Science and the Law column for the Environmental Forum.

He holds expertise in demographic and population models, particularly of plants, songbirds, and bears. He is a leading expert on the Yellowstone grizzlies, and filed a petition asking that they be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. He challenged the federal government's handling of Yellowstone grizzly bear research and has repeatedly asked the U.S. government to release its voluminous, and mostly secret, scientific data on Yellowstone grizzly bears. The questions that direct his research are simple: What does the scientific data show, and what is the best management approach given this scientific knowledge?

Dr. Pease's VLS students learn to read, understand, and critique scientific papers, using the same questions and approach that scientists themselves employ. His students, for example, read scientific papers on dioxin and cancer, hurricanes and global climate change, mercury and cognitive ability, and the reliability of eyewitness evidence, among other topics of interest to environmental attorneys. In his classes, he uses specific scientific papers to illustrate and develop more general concepts about how science operates, as outlined in Science for Business, Law and Journalism, a short text that he has coauthored on the scientific method.

He received his BA degree in biology, summa cum laude, in 1977 and an MS degree in systems science (engineering) in 1981, both from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his PhD degree in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago in 1985. He did a post-doctorate in applied mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science. He was a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin from 1986 to 1998, when he joined the VLS faculty.