"Energy and Sustainability: nanoscience by the ton" by Peter Littlwood (Argonne National Laboratory)

Monday, October 31, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Special Lecture


Guest Speaker:  Peter Littlewood (Argonne National Laboratory and University of Chicago)

Talk Title:  “Energy and Sustainability:  nanoscience by the ton”


We commonly believe that blue-sky science generates unexpected technology, and no doubt this is often true, but the process often runs in reverse. In general, the pull of societal needs drives science and technology in complex ways. One impetus that led to modern condensed matter physics – and at least to the eminence over many decades of a leading industrial research laboratory – was the technology need for a solid state amplifier, surely not appreciated at the time for its potential to produce a scientific revolution. Nonetheless, amongst many other things, the discovery of quasiparticles with a fractional charge was accelerated by the technology pull for faster electronics. The drive to the nanoscale has both propelled modern information technology and shaped our vision of condensed matter science.

A present driver for modern technology is the societal need to address global issues in energy and sustainability. The oldest electrical technology is the voltaic pile, which initiated electrical sciences in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, we need now to revisit the very basis of that science, in the light of modern nano-engineering, though now applied on physical scales vastly exceeding the capacity of top-down manufacturing. Might the questions posed by the societal goals be as revolutionary for science as the transistor turned out to be? 

For more information, contact Jay Hauser

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Mike Cornwall, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Andrea Ghez, Prof. Karoly Holczer, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. Myank Mehta, Prof. John Miao, Prof. Roberto Peccei, Prof. Claudio Pellegrini, Prof. David Saltzberg, Prof. Jean Turner and Prof. Ben Zuckerman.




Event Attachments: 
California NanoSystems (CNSI) Auditorium