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Lasers & Sources

Steven Chu IYL Presentation: Energy and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities

A Nobel plenary lecture from the International Year of Light opening ceremony in Paris.

19 February 2015, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/3.201502.20

Access to clean, affordable and reliable energy has been a cornerstone of the world‘s increasing prosperity and economic growth since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Our use of energy in the twenty-first century must also be sustainable.

Solar and water-based energy generation, and engineering of microbes to produce biofuels are a few examples of the alternatives. This perspective puts these opportunities into a larger context by relating them to a number of aspects in the transportation and electricity generation sectors. It also provides a snapshot of the current energy landscape and discusses several research and development opportunities and pathways that could lead to a prosperous, sustainable and secure energy future for the world.

Steven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University (USA). His research spans atomic and polymer physics, biophysics, biology, biomedicine and batteries.

He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for the laser cooling and trapping of atoms. From January 2009  until April 2013, Dr. Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy and the first scientist to hold a cabinet position since Ben Franklin.