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Department of Energy

Energy: Highlights from the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Technology Review, with Undersecretary of Science, Dr. Steven Koonin

September 29, 2011 @ 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Steven Koonin, Undersecretary of Science from The Department of Energy comes to The Tech Museum to share the highlights of the Department’s key research functions in the broader energy landscape and then answer your questions.
Recommended by the President’s Council on Science and Technology, the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Technology Review states that the Department’s role is as a source of information and as a convener, two functions that are often underestimated, and, are unique and indispensable in the advancement of energy technologies.
It establishes a framework, utilizing six key strategies, in order to prioritize the Department’s research and development across energy technologies.
The Review finds that DOE should give greater emphasis to the transport sector relative to the stationary sector. Among the transport strategies, DOE will devote its greatest effort to electrification of the vehicle fleet, a sweet spot for pre-competitive DOE R&D. Within the stationary heat and power sector, the QTR finds that DOE should increase emphasis on efficiency and understanding the grid. Finally, it highlights the need for DOE to develop stronger, more integrated policy, economics, and technical analysis of its research and development activities.
About Dr. Steven Koonin:
The Senate confirmed Dr. Steven E. Koonin on May 19, 2009 as the second Undersecretary for Science in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Dr. Koonin brings to the post a distinguished career as a university professor and administrator at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as well as experience in industry.
Under Secretary Koonin joined the Caltech faculty in 1975, was a research fellow at the Neils Bohr Institute during 1976 - 1977, and was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow during 1977 - 1979. He became a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech in 1981 and served as Chairman of the Faculty from 1989 - 1991. Dr. Koonin was the seventh provost of Caltech (from 1995 - 2004). In that capacity, he was involved in identifying and recruiting 1/3 of the Institute's professorial faculty and left an enduring legacy of academic and research initiatives in the biological, physical, earth, and social sciences, as well as the planning and development of the Thirty-Meter Telescope project.
As the Chief Scientist at BP between 2004 and early 2009, Dr. Koonin developed the long-range technology strategy for alternative and renewable energy sources. He managed the firm's university-based research programs and played a central role in establishing the Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of California Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Koonin's research interests have included nuclear astrophysics; theoretical nuclear, computational, and many-body physics; and global environmental science. He has been involved in scientific computing throughout his career and is a strong advocate for research into renewable energies and alternate fuel sources. His academic research in computational and nuclear physics has impacted the direction of science both nationally and internationally.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koonin received his B.S. in Physics from Caltech in 1972, worked as a summer graduate student at Los Alamos from 1972-1975 and received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1975. Dr. Koonin married his wife, Laurie, in 1975. They have three grown children, Anna, Alyson, and Benjamin.