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Energy, Environment, Security: Can We Have It All?

About the series


The world's demand for energy will grow by some 60% in the next 25 years. Satisfying that demand in an economical and environmentally acceptable manner is one of the most significant challenges facing society. New technologies will play a central role in meeting this challenge, albeit conditioned by the economic, social, and political contexts in which they are developed and deployed. The presentation will focus on the major forces shaping the world's energy future and the technologies required to respond to them.


Steven E. Koonin was born in Brooklyn, New York and educated at Caltech (B.S. in physics), and at MIT (Ph.D. in theoretical physics). He joined the Caltech faculty in 1975, becoming a full professor in 1981 and serving as Provost from 1995 to 2004.

Koonin left Caltech in March 2004 to become BP's Chief Scientist. BP is the world's second largest independent oil company. It refines and markets petroleum products in more than 100 countries and serves more than 13 million customers each day. Among the well-know BP brands in the US are Arco, Amoco and Castrol. In his capacity as Chief Scientist, Koonin is responsible for BP's long range technology plans and activities, particularly those "beyond petroleum."

In 1975-76, Koonin received the Caltech Associated Students Teaching Award and in 1985 the Humboldt Senior Scientist Award. In 1999, he received the prestigious E.O. Lawrence Award in Physics from the Department of Energy. Dr. Koonin has served on a number of advisory committees for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense and its various national laboratories. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research interests include theoretical nuclear, many-body, and computational physics, nuclear astrophysics, and global environmental science.

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