Energy Sustainability in a Changing World

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Date/Time:Monday, 27 Feb 2012 at 8:00 pm
Location:Great Hall, Memorial Union
Channel:Lectures Program
Categories:Lectures, Live Green
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Ellen Williams is Chief Scientist at British/Beyond Petroleum, one of the world's largest oil & gas companies. Ellen plays a role in determining how developments in science and technology can contribute to sustainable, secure and environmentally responsible energy. She will discuss specific examples of carbon capture and storage, as well as biofuels.

Abstract: BP provides energy in a world of increasing demand and increasing complexity. Everyone wants secure, reliable, and affordable energy, but climate change, resource scarcity, and technical innovation are transforming the energy landscape and it will continue to evolve.

There are many possible pathways to a low-carbon energy future. However each presents unresolved technical challenges, and potential impacts on the world's ecosystem, that will influence the time, money and global-scale asset and infrastructure deployment that will take place over the next decades. BP's energy portfolio demonstrates many of the research challenges in this arena, and some examples from Carbon Capture and Storage and Biofuels will be discussed here specifically.
Women in STEM Speaker Series.

Bio: Ellen Williams to serves as Chief Scientist at British/Beyond Petroleum. BP is the third largest oil company and the fifth largest corporation on the planet, and as BP's Chief Scientist Ellen will play a role in determining how developments in science and technology can contribute to sustainable, secure and environmentally responsible energy. She is on leave from the University of Maryland where she is Distinguished University Professor of Physics and director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. Among her special interests are surfaces at the atomic scale, thin films, low-dimensional interfaces and graphene. In 2005, she was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences; two years earlier, she was selected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been honored with the David Turnbull Lectureship for career contributions from the Materials Research Society, and has received from the American Physical Society both the David Adler
Lectureship Award for work in materials and the Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award for outstanding achievement as a young researcher. She has been committed to encouraging the involvement and success of women and minorities in physics and related fields.

Additional information:
Over the course of her scientific career, University of Maryland (College Park, MD) physics professor Ellen D. Williams has investigated the atomic-scale interactions on the surfaces of materials. Her research group in experimental surface science explores fundamental issues in statistical mechanics and their practical applications in the growing field of nanotechnology. Her work may help guide and usher in an era of more stable nanodevices.

Modern electronic circuits, like those used in computers and cell phones, rely on stability. The atomic-level structure of the electronics in these devices, down to the semiconductors, is vital for their proper function.

New nanoelectronic materials in development, however, have a far greater level of complexity and present a higher possibility for molecular malfunction than their older, larger forebears. Physical and thermal fluctuations can alter the behavior of these forthcoming devices, which poses unique challenges for physicists and material scientists.