Friday, February 16, 2024

On February 9th, Professor Angel Serrano Aroca of the Catholic University of Velencia (UCV) will speak about his work on Antimicrobial Face Masks, Face Shields and...Lipsticks.

Face masks and face shields are accepted to be effective protective tools to avoid bacterial and viral transmission, especially against indoor aerosol transmission. However, the commercial materials used to produce these tools are not capable of inactivating pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 or multidrug-resistant bacteria. Lipsticks are usually associated with higher physical, sexual and social attractiveness and are not generally made of antimicrobial materials either. In this context, we have developed new antimicrobial face masks and face shields with a biofunctional coating of benzalkonium chloride (BAK). These coatings were capable of inactivating SARS-CoV-2 in less than 1 minute of viral contact.

Moreover, the BAK coating was also effective against the life-threatening methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE). Other antimicrobial face masks can be developed using a low-cost technology consisting of a solidified hand soap coating. Bio-based technologies for the production of antimicrobial face masks can also be applied using cranberry extracts by dip-coating. A novel bio-based lipstick containing cranberry extract was also developed to prevent infections caused by a broad range of microorganisms: enveloped and non-enveloped viruses; multidrug-resistant bacteria like MRSA, Escherichia coli, and Mycobacterium smegmatis, a surrogate of Mycobacterium tuberculosis; and the Candida albicans fungus. Therefore, all these antimicrobial tools are very promising in the current antimicrobial-resistance era.

Monday, February 5, 2024

On Friday, January 26th, Dr. Robert Caligiuri , Corporate Vice President at Exponent, Inc., will describe An Example of the Challenges and Adventures of Failure Analysis and Risk Mitigation—The Camisea Pipeline System.

Engineering systems sometimes fail in service. Understanding the origin of such events can lead to improved design and increased performance life. Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the Camisea pipeline system in Peru was designed and built in the early 2000’s by the operator TGP to transport natural gas and natural gas liquids from the Amazon basin to the coast. The system traverses three distinct geographical regions: a tropical rain forest, a high elevation mountain range, and a coastal plain. Each region brought its own risks to pipeline integrity: flooding, mudslides, rockslides, earthquakes. Shortly after beginning operation, the pipeline system experienced five distinct leaks and ruptures, some of which impacted the indigenous population. Exponent was retained by the IADB to investigate the causes of these leaks and to develop measures to mitigate the risks of future failures. Given its multi-disciplinary nature, Exponent was uniquely qualified to conduct this investigation.

Bob Caligiuri is an internationally recognized leader in understanding the fracture and fracture mechanics of materials used in critical engineering systems. He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC-Davis and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford. He specializes in combining the principles of solid mechanics with an understanding of the physical, mechanical and corrosion behavior of metals to solve complex problems in industrial applications. He has over 35 years of experience conducting failure investigations, root cause studies and risk assessments for clients in the petrochemical, consumer product and transmission pipeline industries throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He has specialized expertise in the use and application of the standards, codes and regulations that govern the design, operation, and maintenance of engineered systems. Bob Caligiuri is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

On January 12th, Dr. Piotr Moncarz, XGS Energy, will speak on Geothermal Solutions.

The most under-utilized of all currently available energy sources, geological heat, is a principal topic of this discussion. With all the attempts to move the energy delivery balance of the world away from fossil fuels the needle barely moved, and even that resulted in major as-of-yet unresolved questions related to intermittency of wind and solar energy, battery storage raw materials mining, processing, and disposal, nuclear power plant long development and construction time, and for many countries, exorbitant initial cost. The delivery of geological heat to the surface has many prior and current technological attempts, some of them could never scale, some of them demand supplies of precious water, some of them laden with technological challenges beyond todays state-of-the-art. The most recent efforts labeled “enhanced geothermal systems” (EGS) are striving to address some of those problems. Heat of a high temperature is needed for electricity generation, while heat at lower temperature can be used in direct applications e.g. district heating. Thus, more than one solution might eventually emerge from the current unprecedented effort towards delivery of commercially viable geological heat. With the parallel efforts of development towards revolutionary drilling technologies, high temperature sensors and electronic operating systems, the fulfillment of the dream of using the energy under our feet to address once and for all the sustainable, economically viable energy supplies at every place on Earth is around the corner.

Dr. Piotr d. Moncarz, is a Co-Founder and Vice Chair, and CEO for the initial years of XGS Energy, Inc., a company focused on closed loop harvesting and delivery of geological heat from very hot rock. He serves as Adjunct Professor at the School of Engineering and the School of Sustainability at Stanford University. He graduated from Road and Bridge Vocational School, Poznan, Poland; with a final Ph.D. degree from Stanford University. He joined California firm, Failure Analysis Associates, today Exponent, where he has worked on issues of engineering design and project analysis including risk management, failure prevention, and correcting project failures. As a corporate officer he participated in taking Exponent public and building it into a world‘s leading engineering and scientific consulting company. For over 30 years he has been actively involved in energy projects with international and domestic project development, plant restructuring, and acting in an advisory role in national energy policies in resurging economies. Passionate about delivering a solution to the keystone element of environmental, climate, and geo-political stability: ubiquitous, green, no water, no land-grab, 24/7 energy supply - GeoHeatTM (www.xgsenergy.com ). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of American Society of Civil Engineers, member of numerous US and international energy, environmental, and engineering societies, registered professional engineer in numerous U.S. states and provinces of Canada, educator and professional leader.


Friday, December 29, 2023

On Friday, December 22nd, Professor Noam Eliaz of Tel Aviv University will speak on Additive Manufacturing by Directed Energy Deposition – Opportunities and Challenges.

Directed energy deposition (DED) is a branch of additive manufacturing (AM) processes in which a feedstock material in the form of powder or wire is delivered to a substrate on which an energy source such as laser beam, electron beam, or plasma/electric arc is simultaneously focused, thus forming a small melt pool and continuously depositing material, layer by layer. Noam will overview the main aspects of these processes and their use in advanced materials design and synthesis, three-dimensional printing of complex items, and repair. The relationship between process parameters, microstructures, and mechanical properties of various DED’ed materials will be presented.

Noam is the Dean of The Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering at Tel-Aviv University. He is the founder of its Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He is also an endowed chair professor and the founding director of TIET/TAU Center of Excellence on Advanced Manufacturing at Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in India, and the Chief Scientist of SGS Dental Implant. He was elected to The Israel Young Academy and to the US National Academy of Inventors (as a Senior Member). He was awarded with the title Professor Honoris Causa of the Transylvania University of Braşov in Romania, and has won numerous awards, including TMS 2024 Leadership Award, ECS Electrodeposition Division Research Award, The Israel Vacuum Society (IVS) 2021 Excellence Award for Research, NACE International’s Fellow, Technical Achievement, and Herbert H. Uhlig awards.

Monday, December 18, 2023

On Friday, December 8th Professor Ahmed Ghoniem will speak on Fuels Beyond Fossil: Why, What and When?

On the road to decarbonize energy, power and propulsion systems, electrification (using low carbon electricity from renewables, nuclear or with CCS) of different sectors such as transportation, buildings and industry, is being pursued deliberately and successfully. However, some areas, especially the mobile types such as long distance (air, water and ground) transportations, are more challenging. Others include industries that need high temperature heat and long-term energy storage. For these sectors, using energy-dense chemical fuels, such as hydrogen and its carriers, and biomass sourced fuels, are promising alternatives. The first are very different than conventional fuels, and the second while similar are limited by the supplies. Scaling to meet the rising demand pose its own challenges, and infrastructure requirements need significant investment. I will discuss about why we will continue to need fuels in some sectors of the economy; the different options available now and what may be on the horizon, some of the technologies and related economic and infrastructure questions.

Ahmed F. Ghoniem is the Ronald C. Crane Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Director of the Center for Energy and Propulsion Research at MIT. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree from Cairo University, and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. His recent research focus has been on clean energy technologies with focus on oxy-combustion for CO2 capture, renewable energy, biofuel and solar fuel production. He supervised more than 120 graduate students and post-doctoral students; published more than 500 articles in leading journals and conferences; and consulted for the aerospace, automotive and energy industry. He is fellow of the ASME, the APS, and the Combustion Institute, and associate fellow of the AIAA. He received several awards but most proud of the “Committed to Caring Professor” at MIT.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

On Friday, November 17th State Senator Mike Barrett will join our Forum meeting and speak on the tandem goals of expanding clean energy infrastructure and contracting natural gas infrastructure in Massachusetts.

In his words, “Thank you for the invitation to speak at the Wilson Forum. I appreciate the opportunity. I want to discuss a challenge that underlies a good number of the current conversations around climate policy. Perhaps the highest-profile issue of the moment is expanding the infrastructure for transmitting and distributing electric power around Massachusetts so that the system can take in power from new solar and wind projects and distribute it to EV chargers and heat pumps. But what’s not talked about is a corresponding need on the other side of the ledger -- to contract the infrastructure for transmitting and distributing natural gas. As a matter of simple affordability, not to mention of greenhouse gas reduction, the dual imperatives to expand the distribution of clean electricity and contract the distribution of polluting natural gas are a matched set and need to move forward in tandem. I look forward to discussing with you how this might be done.”

Mike Barrett is the State Senator for Bedford, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Lincoln, Waltham, Weston, and large parts of Lexington. He serves as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. He also serves as Assistant Majority Leader of the Democrats in the State Senate. Mike was the chief architect of An Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy and An Act Driving Climate Policy and Offshore Wind. The bills became law in 2021 and 2022, respectively. By common agreement, they position Massachusetts among the leading states in the nation on steps taken to deal with global warming. Mike is a graduate of Harvard College and the Northeastern University School of Law, and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar. He’s married, lives in Lexington, and is the father of twin daughters.

On November 10th, Professor Chris Knittel of MIT’s Sloan School will speak on Climate Policy and The Electric Grid.

He will describe how markets work, generally, and the economics of climate change. He will address how different types of policies affect those market outcomes and discuss what the Inflation Reduction Act and the BiPartisan Infrastructure Law does and what we might expect from it in terms of impact of CO2 emissions. The economics of climate change and its impact on the electric grid and consumer costs will be considered. The following link would be useful preparation for this discussion: http://knittel.world

Christopher Knittel is the George P. Shultz Professor of Applied Economics in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the Director of MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research which has served as the hub for social science research on energy and the environmental since the late 1970s. Professor Knittel also co-directs of The E2e Project, a research initiative between MIT and UC Berkeley to undertake rigorous evaluation of energy efficiency investments. He joined the faculty at MIT in 2011, having taught previously at UC Davis and Boston University. Professor Knittel received his B.A. in economics and political science from the California State University, Stanislaus in 1994 (summa cum laude), an M.A. in economics from UC Davis in 1996, and a Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley in 1999. His research focuses on environmental economics, studying how firms and consumers respond to policies. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in the Productivity, Industrial Organization, and Energy and Environmental Economics groups. He is the co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, and an associate editor of the Journal of Transportation Economics and Policy, and Journal of Energy Markets, having previously served as an associate editor of The American Economic Journal -- Economic Policy and The Journal of Industrial Economics. His research has appeared in The American Economic Review, The American Economic Journal, The Review of Economics and Statistics, The Journal of Industrial Economics, The Energy Journal and other academic journals.


Tuesday, October 31, 2023

On Friday, October 27th, Zeyneb Magavi of the Home Energy Efficiency team, HEET, will speak on Cutting Carbon Emissions: Geothermal Energy.

She will share an unfolding story of socio-technical systems change that has resulted in a new rapidly spreading decarbonization pathway for our built environment. HEET’s proposed ‘Gas to Geo’ pathway allows gas utilities to evolve to deliver non-emitting thermal energy to customers via networked geothermal technology. With 23 gas utilities engaged and two currently installing geo infrastructure to move customers off gas, many of us may be heating and cooling our homes with geo service in the future. Spanning the breadth of the energy system from workforce to equity to community engagement to engineering, drilling, and new heat pump markets, this story demonstrates the potential of collaborative innovation for the public good. Zeyneb is co-executive director of HEET, where she designed and helped to launch the GasToGeo initiative to drive rapid, efficient, and equitable decarbonization of heating and cooling through deployment of ambient geothermal networks. Today GasToGeo demonstration projects are moving forward across the country and Zeyneb has convened an independent research team to study these first transitions. Zeyneb studied physics, global health, and sustainability and has worked at BBN Technologies, Harvard, MIT, and multiple startups. She is committed to creating and driving forward compassionate, multi-disciplinary and innovative solutions to the urgent challenge of climate change.

Monday, October 16, 2023

On Friday, October 13, Walter Hubbard will moderate our discussion on Solutions for the Grid: The Light at the End of the Tunnel.

In 1963 at the age of twelve, Walter’s Science Fair project was a Solar PhotoVoltaic cell powering a motor. Ever since, he has been enthralled with energy production earning a BSME at University of Rhode Island in power engineering. Upon graduating, he designed components of nuclear power plants for Stone and Webster and then later designing, installing, and troubleshooting steam turbine generators for General Electric in nuclear and fossil power plants. In the late 70s he was a formative part of several volunteer alternative energy groups. In 1982, Walter earned his MBA at the University of Michigan emphasizing Solar PhotoVoltaic Engineering and Energy Economics. Since then, Walter has been a financial and engineering consultant to the waste to energy industry, but more recently a computer consultant to small businesses and individuals. Walter practices what he preaches by driving an electric vehicle and heating and cooling with heat pumps powered in part by solar panels and a Powerwall battery at his home.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

On Friday, September 22nd, Eric Johnson of will speak about the work of ISO New England.

Through collaboration and innovation, ISO New England plans the transmission system, administers the region’s wholesale markets, and operates the power system to ensure reliable and competitively priced wholesale electricity. He will provide an overview of the organization and an update on the New England region. This presentation will cover ISO New England’s roles and major responsibilities, the region’s wholesale markets, the New England power system, grid transformation, and transmission developments.

Eric is Director of External Affairs for ISO New England, the operator of the region’s electric grid. He leads a team of government affairs professionals that coordinates the ISO’s outreach to government officials in the six New England states. He works with state and federal policymakers and regulators to educate them on ISO initiatives related to regional system planning and wholesale electricity markets. He leads communications and training exercises to keep government officials informed during power system emergencies. He has appeared before legislative committees, public utility commissions, environmental agencies and siting boards to speak on a wide range of electricity issues. He serves on the board of directors of the Connecticut Power and Energy Society, and is the organization’s immediate past president. When he is not at work, Eric enjoys hiking with his family and their dog, Leo, and serving as a volunteer firefighter with the Hazardville Fire Department in Enfield, Connecticut.

Monday, September 11, 2023

On Friday, September 8th, MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer will speak on Controlling the release of large molecules from biomaterials: How overcoming skepticism led to new medical treatments and ways to tackle a global health challenge.

Advanced drug delivery systems are having an enormous impact on human health. We start by discussing our early research on developing the first controlled release systems for macromolecules and the isolation of angiogenesis inhibitors and how these led to numerous new therapies. This early research then led to new drug delivery technologies including nanoparticles and nanotechnology that are now being studied for use treating cancer, other illnesses, and in vaccine delivery (including the Covid-19 vaccine). Finally, by combining mammalian cells, including stem cells, with synthetic polymers, new approaches for engineering tissues are being developed that may someday help in various diseases. These can also serve as a basis for tissues on a chip which can potentially reduce animal and human testing. Examples in the areas of cartilage, skin, blood vessels, GI tract and heart tissue are discussed.

Since graduating from MIT in 1974 with a ScD in chemical engineering, Bob Langer has gone on to serve as an Institute Professor at MIT, the highest distinction awarded to an MIT faculty member; preside over the largest academic biomedical engineering lab the world; conduct research in medicine and biotechnology that has improved the lives of over 2 billion people; become the most cited engineer in history; and garner countless awards and accolades for his work. He is a co-founder of Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna. In his words, this celebrated educator, innovator and entrepreneur has said “Because I knew something about engineering and something about medicine, I was able to put those concepts together to come up with new ideas...” His work is of real and lasting value to society.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

On Friday, June 23rd , Innovation Toronto’s Ron Smith will join us. His presentation is titled From Science Fiction to Science Friction.

Ron is Innovation Toronto's chief cook and bottle washer, and he has had the privilege of being able to observe the wonders and challenges of global science and discovery since 2007.He describes the observer role as giving one the sense of being "a mile wide and an inch deep: knowing a little about a lot of things, just enough to ask some really dumb questions". With science fiction quickly becoming science fact, we are in an age of discovery unlike any other. The overall volume of change and civilization-threatening challenges we face together is forcing humanity to contemplate it's collective future and the future of nature-in-our-care in ways unimaginable just a few decades ago. This interactive session will briefly explore some of the more amazing things coming at us while questioning our abilities and readiness to face the multitude of challenging things that are also coming at us. This is what we refer to internally as "the race between genius and stupidity". There will be opportunities during the session to discuss what really worries you most and the things you see that get you most excited about the future. You are very likely to hear "I wonder if" a few times during the session.

Ron Smith is an experienced innovator who left the for-profit world 34 years ago to apply entrepreneurial business principles to social needs. The original plan was to spend 3 or 4 years giving back and then return to the for-profit universe . . . he is running a little late! The focus in this time-line has ranged from the creation of innovative community projects, creation and implementation of local and foreign emergency disaster relief efforts to the global environmental imperative. His commitment to a positive, business-like and balanced approach to community, environment, education and related issues has helped attract some of the best minds in business, education, the environment and the community to work on pragmatic approaches that target the goal of a truly sustainable future. In 2007 Innovation Toronto was born. It began with Ron overseeing an online focus on the startup community in Toronto but quickly evolved to focus on the brilliant breakthroughs and discoveries that global science was bringing to the world. Since that time, Innovation Toronto has strived to showcase the best and brightest ideas that can be found from universities and research institutions worldwide. The ongoing overall mission is to help accelerate the development of the projects and ideas most likely to be of service in a time of local / global need. With the advent of generative artificial intelligence platforms he is deeply involved in exploring the possibilities and potential offered by AI to better promote the promise and wonders of science to the general public. See the attached for a more complete summary of Ron’s remarkable leadership over the years.


Monday, June 12, 2023

On Friday, June 9th, historian and writer Vincent Dixon will speak about America’s preparations for its 250th Anniversary, Heading Toward America’s 250th, and the background foundational history that explains how Massachusetts led the Original Thirteen, forward, to the culminating actions, and the document, that we know of as The Declaration of Independence.

Important, but little known, is that we are in the 250th Anniversary Cycle of The United States, which began before 2020 (1770-1776); and more importantly, most of the important events, happened here, in Massachusetts. Dixon will deliver, an Overview, of the History of Massachusetts; showing the dramatic evolution of events…and the ultimate Independence of Massachusetts, beginning in 1620, 1630, 1689, or 1774, depending upon how we view perceived reality, based on facts, distinct from the British Imperial arrogance of the time. Among the earliest events “The Liberty Tree Protest” in Boston, in 1765 (2015); the Spinners Protest in Lexington, in 1769 (2019); The Boston Massacre, in Boston, in 1770 (2020 – just before the Pandemic shutdown); The Boston Tea Party, in Boston, in 1773 (2023); The Suffolk Resolves 1774 (2024 – Predating The Declaration Of Independence – Authorizing Independent Government); Lexington, Concord, and Menotomy, in 1775 (2025); and more. The Presentation will highlight the repeated occasions of April 19th, in Massachusetts History; The United Colonies of New England; Governor/President Simon Bradstreet; the insistent use of mechanisms, based on The Rule Of Law; and the evolution of fully developed government; culminating in the fully Independent Massachusetts Provincial Congress, in October 1774 (2024); which continues in a legal line, to this day; influencing both the daily lives of Massachusetts, and providing significant models, for national government, along the way. With the failure of the United States 250th Commission, and the rocky, but important beginning of the Massachusetts 250th Commission, we are well on our way; although a bit behind, on the calendar. In fact, important, Commonwealth of Massachusetts funding is pending in the current State Budget.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

On Friday, May 26th Paul Woskov, MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, will join us to speak about Geothermal Drilling Technologies. Geothermal energy from Super-Hot Rock

Super Hot Rock (SHR) can be a virtually limitless base energy source with a power density comparable to fossil fuels. At depths ranging from 10 – 20 km about 80% of the world’s major population centers could access SHR. Pioneered at MIT and leveraging technology developed for nuclear fusion research, millimeter-wave (MMW) drilling represents a non-contact, direct energy penetration that replaces mechanical drilling with a full-bore energy-matter interaction. High-powered energy is efficiently guided downhole to result in dielectric heating > 2,000 oC, rapidly melting, pressurizing, and vaporizing the rock to create a borehole with a vitrified casing and transporting quenched vapors up-hole by a circulating purge gas. This process overcomes temperature/pressure limits of current drilling technology while improving drilling rates and lowering costs by an order of magnitude. In this presentation, we present the analytic basis of MMW drilling and why it is optimal to access deep SHR, provide experimental results, and plans at MIT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Quaise Energy. Dr. Paul Woskov has been with MIT for 46 years, retiring from the Plasma Science and Fusion Center as a Senior Research Engineer after 41 years and currently continues part time as an active retiree. He has led and worked with national and international research teams in the areas of energy and environmental research. These areas have included work on major fusion energy experiments including ITER as an External Expert, on applied plasmas for nuclear waste remediation and pollution monitoring, and applications of millimeter-wave gyrotrons to geothermal energy, which included melting through granite and basalt for the first time using a powerful 5G frequency. Dr. Woskov has won 6 R&D 100 Awards as the inventor of new instrumentation and measurement methods for nuclear waste vitrification, atmospheric emissions, and thermal processes.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Friday May 12th, 2023 Laura Lewis on Synthetic Tetrataenite: Extraterrestrial Origins and Terrestrial Consequences.

Northeastern University Professor Laura Lewis will speak on Synthetic Tetrataenite: Extraterrestrial Origins and Terrestrial Consequences. 21st-century aspirations for e-mobility, robots and drones require advanced permanent magnets which will approach an estimated 2027 market value of $36.9 billion. While the rare-earth “supermagnets” are excellent for these applications, demand is predicted to outstrip supply within a decade, motivating the search for new types of magnetic materials. One contender is the iron-nickel meteoritic mineral known as “tetrataenite” that could provide a magnetic energy product (BH)max in excess of 300 kJ/m3, ideal for so-called “gap magnet” applications. While comprised entirely of sustainable and easily accessible elements, tetrataenite, however, takes up to a billion years to form in nature. Terrestrial synthesis of tetrataenite-based magnets has the potential to revolutionize technology and upend geopolitically influenced supply chains. Addressing this challenge, enhancement tetrataenite formation has been rationally approached through the application of multiple energies applied during thermal processing of metallic precursors. This presentation will introduce new results concerning stabilization of tetrataenite achieved via special processing, supporting the case that attainment of L10 FeNi is indeed possible on earthly timescales.

Laura H. Lewis is the Distinguished University and Cabot Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Prior to her Northeastern University position, she was a research group leader and Associate Department Chair in the Nanoscience Department of Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). Concurrently, she was the Deputy Director of the BNL Center for Functional Nanomaterials, a DOE national user facility to provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate and study nanoscale materials. Laura’s research focuses on investigating the materials factors at the atomic level that provide functionality to magnetic and electronic materials, with particular expertise in advanced permanent magnets. She has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and delivered over 100 invited presentations at national and international venues. She has participated on a number of advisory panels and currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Critical Materials Institute (a DOE Energy Innovation Hub). She is a Delegate of the U.S. Technical Advisory Groups to develop supply chain and sustainability standards to ISO TC298 (Rare Earths) and ISO TC333 (Lithium), on behalf of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Laura, a Fellow of the IEEE, was Conference Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Magnetics (2008 – 2018) and was Chair of the IEEE Magnetics Society Technical Committee (2017-2019). She is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fulbright Fellow as well as an elected member of JEMS-EMA (The European Magnetism Association), the Materials Research Society, the American Chemical Society and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Friday, April 28th, 2023 Ismaila Dabo on Data-Intensive Discovery of Earth-Abundant Semiconductors for Solar-to-Hydrogen Conversion

Penn State Professor Ismaila Dabo will speak on Data-Intensive Discovery of Earth-Abundant Semiconductors for Solar-to-Hydrogen Conversion. Renewable and sustainable solar generation of hydrogen is pivotal to diversifying the global energy supply away from fossil fuels in the transportation sector and across major branches of the industry, including ammonia synthesis, process metallurgy, and hydrocarbon production. While photovoltaics and electrolysis are increasingly mature technologies whose association may ultimately offer a viable path to produce hydrogen at scale, there is increasing debate over building a future hydrogen infrastructure that would massively rely on critical Pt-group metals and on photovoltaic devices, whose supply chains and global markets are largely controlled by non-domestic producers. Thus, there is strategic interest in developing novel classes of scalable semiconductors that can directly cleave water into oxygen and hydrogen under solar illumination by photocatalytic means. This presentation will discuss the use of data-intensive materials discovery workflow for narrowing down the choice of candidate semiconductors for solar hydrogen generation. Progress in predicting the optical properties of compound semiconductors will also be highlighted.


Ismaila Dabo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University with joint appointments in the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, and in the Penn State Materials Research Institute. He received a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT in 2008, working under the supervision of Nicola Marzari on the first-principles modeling of electrochemical solid–liquid interfaces. His recent awards include the Wilson Teaching Excellence Award (2021), Materials Science and Engineering Faculty of the Year Award (2021), Corning Chair in Materials Science and Engineering (2020). He currently serves on the editorial board of the journals Computational Materials Science (Elsevier) and Science (AAAS).

Friday, April 14th, 2023 Aziz Asphahani on Computational Materials Design and Engineering

Dr. Aziz Asphahani, Chairman and CEO of QuesTek Innovations, LLC, Evanston IL, will speak on Computational Materials Design and Engineering. Advanced materials are recognized as critical building blocks that drive significant innovations in key sectors of the global economy(e.g., Aerospace, Automotive, Defense, Energy, Medical). Also, these materials are being considered as key enablers in addressing the energy-climate challenges and accelerating the energy transition to near net zero emission targets. The advent of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) technologies (built on thermodynamics and kinetics databases and aided by physics-based models and computational simulations) have led to the design and deployment of several advanced higher-performance alloys. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) play important role in the discovery of new compounds, the ICME technologies coupled with the Accelerated Insertion of Materials (AIM) methodologies have been successful in designing and deploying novel, advanced alloys. The ICME/AIM implementations are also proven effective in the practices of Engineering Concurrency (combining innovative product design with advanced materials). The acquired expertise from 26 years of applying the ICME technologies, and the ensuing cumulative know-how are QuesTek basis for the development and implementation of predictive software packages in the form of an Integrated Computational Materials Design (ICMD®) platform. As envisioned in the ongoing Materials Genome Initiative, the ICMD platform will assist in breaking down barriers between materials discovery and deployment. Presently, the ICMD platform have demonstrated usefulness in predicting the physical properties of Additive Manufacturing (3D-printing) of metals, and in designing printable higher-performance alloys powders.

Dr. Asphahani’s early research activities were focused on identifying the parameters affecting alloys resistance to corrosion. His research involved assessing the mechanisms of hydrogen embrittlement and its deleterious impact on corrosion-resistant alloys (CRA). Furthermore, he identified the roles of key alloying elements that were essential to developing CRA with improved resistance to corrosion and wear [one of his patented alloys (HASTELLOY alloy C-22) was selected as a durable material to contain nuclear waste for the Yacca Mountain project]. QuesTek Innovations is a leader in developing and deploying novel, advanced materials based on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) technologies and the Accelerated Insertion of Materials (AIM) methodologies, using genomic science-based data, and physics-based modeling. He holds eight patents. In 2017, Aziz was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering "for executive leadership in STEM education, integrated computational design of materials, and innovation and production of corrosion-resistant alloys." He is a past president of ASM International and past chair of its educational foundation. His degrees include Diplome Ingenieur-Physique from École Centrale de Paris and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from MIT.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Friday, March 24th, 2023 Michael Garjian on Carbon Dioxide Removal

Michael Garjian will speak about how climate change provides an opportunity to create sustainable community economies by utilizing sustainable power systems and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies such as the CarbonStar system. His 16 years spent in the CDR industry culminated in Michael Garjian’s development, patenting, and successful demonstration of the mobile CarbonStar catalytic vacuum pyrolysis system. The CarbonStar system sequesters atmospheric CO2 by pyrolyzing a variety of biomass feedstocks to produce biochar, bio oils, wood vinegar fertilizer, and biogas to generate electricity to power the CarbonStar system. If widely deployed, the self-sustaining CarbonStar system could sequester megaton levels of CO2 while providing carbon neutral energy and power to urban, rural, and even remote locations wherever a supply of biomass is available. The CarbonStar system has been ranked among the top 80 of 1,300 global CDR technologies entered in Elon Musk’s Carbon XPRIZE.

Michael left the farm to earn a degree in business management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Isenberg School Of Management. As a lifelong commercial entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, and author, he holds 11 international patents for alternative lighting systems, electronic power supplies, and atmospheric carbon dioxide removal (CDR) systems. As a commercial entrepreneur he and his wife Irene employed 400 associates producing innovations he developed and sold internationally. As a social entrepreneur in the 2000s, he conceived of and pursued the development of sustainable economic systems while working in community development organizations helping more than one hundred very low income individuals and refugees start small businesses. His work earned a number of awards and was recognized widely by the community, business, and social media of that time. He and his wife Irene are the founders of CarbonStar Systems, Inc., a Massachusetts domestic benefit corporation (B-Corp).

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Friday March 10th, 2023 David Hsu on The Origin of Community Choice Aggregation

On Friday, March 10th, David Hsu will speak on The Origin of Community Choice Aggregation and other aspects of the role of concerned citizens in moving local and national policy regarding the energy transition necessary to avoid worsening climate change. A recent paper on the invention of Community Choice Aggregation in Massachusetts sheds light on how to achieve changes in the energy system from the bottom-up, with local organizing and government action. A second recent paper, on the interactions between land use and the built environment with national, economy-wide decarbonization, illustrates how local cities and regions must act to contribute to the energy transition.

David Hsu is an Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Cities connect to their environment through infrastructure, built through physical, technological, and social systems. David's research and teaching focus on how planners, policymakers, and advocates can shape and implement these complex systems using technology, data, and analysis. David taught previously at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University, and worked in structural engineering, real estate finance, and as a policy analyst in the city governments of New York and Seattle. He holds a B.S. from Yale University in physics; a M.S. from Cornell University in applied and engineering physics; a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science in city design and social science; and from the University of Washington in Seattle, a Ph.D. in urban design and planning with a certificate in social science and statistics. David is working on a book contracted with the University of Chicago Press on governance of utilities and infrastructure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Friday February 24th, 2023 Richard Adler on the Law of Unintended Consequences (LUC)

Why do so many critical business and policy decisions go awry? And what can leaders do to improve decision quality and outcomes? In this talk, Richard Adler will answer the first question using the Law of Unintended Consequences (LUC), which states that attempts to intervene in complex situations tend to produce unexpected and often unpleasant consequences. He will review the Law’s primary causes—cognitive biases and bounded rationality—and explain how they wreak havoc. The second question is answered by describing a method for “test-driving” decisions that helps to combat these causes. This method combines scenario planning and “what-if” simulations to help leaders practice critical decisions and learn safely from virtual rather than real mistakes. Decision test drives help organizations improve their anticipation of the future and reduce the frequency and severity of unintended consequences, thereby “bending” the Law. Finally, Rich will illustrate the test drive method by applying it to decisions about managing organizational risk. This example focuses on improving strategies for DHS agencies to counter terrorist threats against critical national infrastructures.

Richard Adler is a software architect, management consultant, and start-up executive. He spent most of his career building software tools and applications to improve business operations and critical decision-making. Richard worked for Control Data, MITRE, Computer Sciences Corporation, and three software start-up companies. Early in his career, Richard built AI programs, including one that automated operations support for the Launch Processing System for NASA’s Space Shuttle Fleet. As the founder of DecisionPath, he developed solutions to improve strategic decisions such as competitive marketing, counterterrorism, and organizational change, as described in his recent book Bending the Law of Unintended Consequences. Richard has also published and spoken on topics including intelligent and distributed systems, simulation, homeland security, and knowledge management. Richard holds a BS degree in Physics and Philosophy (University of Michigan), an MS in Physics (University of Illinois at Urbana) and a PhD in Philosophy of Physics (University of Minnesota).

Friday, February 3, 2023

Friday, February 10th, 2023 Wayne Sharfin: Developing a Science Demonstration Program to Inspire Underprivileged Middle-School Students

Wayne Sharfin will speak with about his work at Developing a Science Demonstration Program to Inspire Underprivileged Middle-School Students. Students must decide whether they are interested in pursuing a career in science or engineering (STEM subjects) early in high-school in order to choose the appropriate preparatory courses. Underprivileged students generally have little exposure to professional STEM mentors or role models. Our goal is to perform demonstrations that might inspire them to consider a STEM career and to answer questions which would aid them in their decision. Examples of some proposed participatory demonstrations and slides that have been prepared to explain and expand upon the underlying concepts will be shown. Challenges that have been encountered and the relative merits of doing this as part of an in-class or optional after-school program will be discussed.

Wayne Sharfin was born in Queens NYC. Both of his parents worked in NYC public schools, his father was an artist and amateur musician. He performed in the All-City NYC High School Orchestra. He was interested in science and music and attended the U. of Rochester, which has the Eastman School of Music. He received his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the U. of Chicago where he did his PhD research in laser spectroscopy. Wayne joined the newly formed Fundamental Research Lab of GTE Laboratories after doing post-doctoral research at the U. of Toronto. He received two awards for his research at GTE and joined MIT Lincoln Lab after the Fundamental Research Lab was closed. Dr. Sharfin has been the chairman of several international conferences on optical devices for telecommunications. He began his career in product development at Lasertron in 1993 where he was the Director of Pump Laser Development when Corning acquired the company in 2000 for its pump laser technology. He has been the VP of Engineering at three start-up companies in the US and Canada, including Aegis Lightwave, a market leader in optical channel monitors for WDM communications which was acquired by II-VI Corporation, (now part of Coherent) in 2011.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Friday, January 27th, 2023 Eric Miller on Hydrogen

Eric Miller, Chief Scientist U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office will speak about the DOE program HydroGEN, Materials Research Supporting U.S. National Priorities in Clean Hydrogen Production. Today, technologies for advancing National clean energy priorities are rapidly evolving, including hydrogen and fuel cell technologies which offer unique versatility within a portfolio of domestic options addressing decarbonization, economic growth, and environmental justice. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Program, in support of the Hydrogen Energy Earthshot (aka the Hydrogen Shot) and the H2@Scale initiative, comprises a broad portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) activities focused on advancing technologies for the affordable production, storage, distribution, and utilization of clean hydrogen across sectors. Coordinated by the Department’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, this portfolio includes foundational materials research and development (R&D) leveraging consortia that harness the world-class capabilities and expertise of our national laboratories, including consortia affiliated with the DOE Energy Materials Network (EMN). The HydroGEN EMN Consortia, for example, aims to accelerate the materials R&D of advanced water splitting pathways such as alkaline exchange membrane low-temperature electrolysis and proton-conducting high-temperature electrolysis, as well as photoelectrochemical, and solar thermochemical processes. This talk presents an overview of the DOE Hydrogen Program’s priorities in support of H2@Scale and the Hydrogen Shot, and discusses the HydroGEN Consortium’s high-impact materials R&D to enable diverse options for affordable clean hydrogen production.

Dr. Eric L. Miller is Chief Scientist at the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, where he plays important roles in the Department’s Hydrogen Energy Earthshot and H2@Scale Initiatives. He is also co-founder and Chair of the DOE Energy Materials Network, and a member of the OSTP Subcommittee on the Material Genome Initiative. With a background in applied physics, electrical engineering, and materials science, he has spent over 30 years in the research and development of hydrogen and other clean energy technologies; and is globally recognized as a pioneer in the field of solar hydrogen production.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Friday, January 13th, 2022 - Dan Metlay on Nuclear Waste

Dan Metlay will speak with us on DOE’s Consent Based Siting Process for Nuclear Waste. The importance of public acceptance and the social science aspects of dealing with this matter has come up often in our meetings. In late August of the past year, a copy of Dan’s Social Acceptability of Geologic Disposal, which appeared in Elsevier’s Encyclopedia of Nuclear Energy, was circulated to our group and will provide advance reading for this meeting. A copy is attached.

Dr. Daniel Metlay recently retired after 24‐years of service on the senior professional staff of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. Prior to joining the NWTRB, he taught organizational theory and public policy in the political science departments of Indiana University, Bloomington, and at MIT. He served on the steering committee to prepare the Reset of America’s Nuclear Waste Management: Strategy and Policy report, which was released by Stanford and George Washington Universities in 2018. As a Senior Fellow at the B. John Garrick Institute for Risk Sciences at UCLA, he is now working on a book dealing with the institutional and technical challenges of developing a deep‐mined, geologic repository for high‐activity radioactive waste.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Friday December 23, 2022 Vincent Dixon - Holiday Music and Musical Stories

On Friday, December 23rd, historian and writer Vincent Dixon will add a historian’s perspective and music to our Christmas preparations with Holiday Music and Musical Stories – (A Narrated and Sung Program). Holiday songs derived from technology, policy and national security issues (Do you Hear What I Hear, for example) are as timely today as when they first appeared and represent a poignant and meaningful end of the year event for us.

Vincent Lawrence “Vince” Dixon, is a known Historian, especially focused on presentations including Colonial History; Current Events, and their Relationship to History; Church-State Relationships, and their Evolution, and Relationship with Civic Society; Parks, and Landscape History; and has taught, and tutored, as well. He has done work in curriculum development, and is a frequently published columnist, and speaker; and responds to custom requests. MASS PRESENTATIONS (a dba brand, of Dixon’s) develops a wide variety of presentations, media presentations, curriculum, and published materials, across a wide variety of audiences, and subject matter. Dixon has made presentations to the Winchester Historical Society: Religious Realities of Winchester: Houses of Worship & Communities of Faith; Schools of Winchester & Their Namesakes (including an exploration of The Lincolns of Massachusetts); Sports History of Winchester (A Virtual Event – by Zoom); and conducted Town Day Trolley Guided Tours. Interestingly, Vince was home schooled K-12, received his Bachelor of Arts Degree, cum laude, at the Harvard University Extension School and a Master of Education Degree at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He studied with Dr. Thomas H. O’Connor, University Historian of Boston College, the long-time Dean of Boston Historians.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Friday, December 9, 2022 Michael Cima: Intersection of Medicine and Materials

At this meeting, Professor Michael Cima will speak about The Intersection of Medicine and Materials. He will discuss his journey from materials science and engineering to medicine through a series of technologies originating in his lab. For the most part, this is a reflection on where these ideas came from. There are three key themes; pivot, adjacency, and theory of change. Topics will include 1) the role of materials in pharmaceutical development, 2) magnetics in diagnostics, 3) single compartment drug targeting, and 4) hydration status measurement.

Dr. Michael J. Cima is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has an appointment at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Professor Cima joined the MIT faculty in 1986 and has received numerous awards. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2011 and to the National Academy of Inventors in 2016. He now holds the David H. Koch Chair of Engineering at MIT. He was appointed faculty director of the Lemelson-MIT Program in 2009 which is a program to inspire youth to be inventive and has a nationwide reach. He was appointed Associate Dean of Engineering in 2018 and co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative. Prof. Cima is author or co-author of over three hundred peer reviewed scientific publications, ninety US patents, and is a recognized expert in the field of medical devices and materials processing. Prof. Cima has been very active in the translation of new technologies into the clinic, including a new therapy for bladder cancer.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Wednesday November 9th, 2022 Kerry Emanuel and Richard Lindzen in A Conversation on Climate Change

At this Conversation on Climate Change, Professors Kerry Emanuel and Richard Lindzen of MIT’s Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Department (EAPS) will join us. Kerry and Dick both spoke about climate change issues at Forum meetings last season. Their views differ. These two distinguished experts return to join us in a moderated conversation on climate change. With all the information (and misinformation) regarding climate issues in the popular press and political discourse, this is a rare opportunity for us to ask our questions and to develop a basis for understand the reality.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Friday October 28th, Emil Jacob: Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Emil Jacobs, President of WindRays Energy of the Greentown Labs in Somerville will meet with us to speak about Vertical Axis Wind Turbine technology. WindRays Energy is developing a new design that addresses the main challenges facing the wind energy market by capturing the advantages of vertical axis windmills and merging with solar energy. The WindRays model enables implementation in densely populated areas, lowering visual impact, noise, harm to birds and providing other benefits not available in the market today. A number of break-through designs address the shortcomings of vertical axis windmills, such as structural stability and limited energy capture resulting in a model that is scalable and significantly more effective than conventional, horizontal axis windmills. Additionally, the incorporation of solar disks makes possible a total energy relative to cost more effective than conventional windmills.

Emil is a design innovator who has focused on developing solutions that improve the human condition and restore the planet profitably. He grew up in a small town in Romania in the 70s and 80s with a strong passion for design innovations that address the most pressing problems related to climate change and human health and well-being in ways that are profitable and market driven. He earned a B.A. in Economics, Minor in English Literature at the University of Toronto and a Masters in Design for Human Health from Boston Architectural College.

The following links provide perspective on WindRays technology:

Friday, October 7, 2022

Friday October 14th, 2022 Electric Vehicles, Part 1

Electric Vehicles
This meeting is in two parts: on October 14th John Brown, Walter Hubbard, Hugh Wright, Bob Muise will have some comments on their Electric Vehicle Experience and then field questions from our crew. On the following morning, 15 October at 10:30 am, we will continue with a Show and Tell in the Jenks Parking Lot, so that you might have a hands-on look at some EV s and PHEVs. Earlier this Fall, Jeff Hecht spoke with us about autonomous vehicles and spoke about the vision of urban environmentalists who see a path to a future of all-electric zero-emission cars, some of which may be self-driving. While public acceptance of self-driving cars remains unclear, public acceptance of electric vehicles is growing. This session is intended to give us an opportunity to hear from people from our crew who have experience with EVs.

Walter has suggested that the following links may be of interest to our members:
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Additional resources:


Friday, September 23, 2022

Friday, September 23, 2022 Dennis Whyte on Recent Advances in Fusion Energy

At this meeting, Professor Dennis Whyte will describe Recent Advances in Fusion Energy including the development of new high magnetic field superconductor magnets and the launch of the SPARC fusion project outside Boston, whose goal is to demonstrate the viability of fusion this decade. The challenges to developing and deploying economic fusion will be highlighted.

Dennis G. Whyte is the Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, and director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A recognized leader in fusion research, especially in the magnetic confinement of plasmas, Whyte has paved an innovative and faster path to producing fusion energy. He leads the fusion project, SPARC — a compact, high-field, net fusion energy fusion device — in collaboration with private fusion startup Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS). The core of the SPARC project was formed over eight years ago during a design course led by Whyte to challenge assumptions in fusion. Many of the ideas underpinning the high-field approach — including the use of HTS for high-field, demountable magnets, liquid blankets, and ARC (a fusion power plant concept) — have been conceived of or significantly advanced in his design courses. Whyte has over 350 publications, is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and has served on panels for the National Academies, the United States government, and the Royal Society. In 2018 Whyte received The Fusion Power Associates (FPA) Board of Directors Leadership Award which is given annually to individuals who have shown outstanding leadership qualities in accelerating the development of fusion. Whyte earned a BS from the University of Saskatchewan, and an MS and PhD from Université du Québec.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Friday September 9th, 2022 - Jeff Hecht - Self Driving Cars

Jeff Hecht will speak on "Challenges of Self-Driving Cars, or it seemed like a good idea at the time," and it is a deliberately tongue in cheek title. The current wave of interest grew from DARPA challenges in the 2000s, and early successes stimulated interest from both startups and the rather beleaguered auto companies. The early demonstrations by Google's Waymo division and others showed that cars equipped with sensors and artificial intelligence software could drive themselves on clear, well-marked and well-maintained roads. Two visions emerged: self-driving robo-taxies by the likes of Waymo, Uber, and Ford, and high-tech electric cars for affluent suburbanites by Tesla and others. Urban environmentalists saw a path to a future of all-electric zero-emission cars. The past few years have shown it wasn't as easy as it looked. Teslas and Ubers caused fatal accidents and crashed into stopped fire trucks with lights flashing. Worries about safety grew, as did questions about what kind of environments were needed. How well could robo-cars drive in heavy rain or on icy roads? How well can they drive on busy city streets shared with cyclists, pedestrians, and delivery trucks? So far, we're learning that the best place for self-driving cars may be modern, well-marked divided highways -- but maybe not with motorcycles. And public acceptance remains unclear.

Jeff Hecht writes about science and technology for magazines including New Scientist, IEEE Spectrum, Laser Focus World, Optics & Technology News, Photonics Focus, and Nature. He also has written books including City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics, and Lasers, Death Rays, and the Long, Strange Quest for the Ultimate Weapon. His interest in autonomous cars started with their use of laser radars for mapping the world around them, but he now follows the development of the technology and its limits.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Friday June 24th, 2022 Jacopo Buongiorno - follow up discussion

At this meeting, MIT Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering Jacopo Buongiorno returns to meet with the Forum, this time to field questions associated with Nuclear Waste Management. Professor Buongiorno has met with us on two previous occasions to speak about Nuclear Batteries on December 10th and on February 11th to field questions that evolved from our members. On this occasion the Q&A will focus on the management of nuclear waste. . For reference, please review the list of questions that had been assembled and, particularly, direct your attention to the Section IV of this file.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Friday June 10th, 2022 Yet-Ming Chiang - Batteries and Renewable Energy

MIT Professor Yet-Ming Chiang will speak about Storage to Enable a 100% Renewable Electric Grid. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is a key pathway to mitigation of climate change. Remarkable innovations in and scaled production of Li-ion battery technology over the past two decades could allow hour-to-hour and day-to-night variability in wind and solar generation to be largely accommodated. However, multi-day lulls in renewable generation currently challenge the electric grid’s ability to provide firm (dispatchable and always-available) power. Affordable and reliable long-duration storage is needed. In order to effectively compete on a cost basis with natural gas generation, system-level storage costs will need to be $20 per kilowatt hour or less. This talk will compare performance requirements for long- and short-duration storage applications, including where trades unacceptable at short-durations may be relaxed for long-duration batteries. Consideration of these criteria, alongside the equally important requirement of materials availability and manufacturing scalability that may need to reach installed storage capacity of ~100 TWh worldwide by midcentury, narrows the technological options. Of these, the rechargeable iron-air battery emerges as a promising option, for reasons that will be elaborated in the talk.

Yet-Ming Chiang is the Kyocera Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, where his research focuses on clean energy technologies including non-aqueous and aqueous batteries for transportation and grid-scale storage, and electrochemical production of construction materials. He has brought several laboratory discoveries to commercial implementation, including the development of high-power lithium iron phosphate batteries, a semi-solid electrode approach to low-cost lithium-ion battery manufacturing, and batteries for long-duration grid storage. He has published about 300 scientific articles and holds about 100 issued U.S. patents, of which more than 70 have been licensed to or are held by practicing companies. Chiang is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the Materials Research Society, the American Ceramic Society, and the National Academy of Inventors. His work in energy has been recognized by the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Award (2016), the Economist’s Innovation Award (Energy and Environment Category, 2012), The Electrochemical Society Battery Division’s Battery Technology Award (2012), and an R&D 100 Editor’s Choice Award (2006). Chiang has co-founded several companies based on research from his MIT laboratory including American Superconductor Corporation (1987), A123 Systems (2001), 24M Technologies (2010), Desktop Metal (2015), Form Energy (2017), and Sublime Systems (2020). He was co-director of the MIT Future of Energy Storage study (2022) and leads the newly inaugurated Center for Electrification and Decarbonization of Industry at MIT.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday May 27th, 2022 - Vince Dixon - Memorial Day

As we approach Memorial Day, historian Vincent Dixon leads a discussion of Personal Recollections on Memorial Day – And Memorials of Service. Memorial Day, came into being, in the aftermath of the stunning slaughter of the American Civil War. In New England, oftentimes, the last major statue, and/or memorial to the casualties of a War, are to those of the Civil War. Once more generally called The War of Rebellion, many themes, drawn from its memorials, have come to be focused, more particularly, on those who gave their lives in combat, and/or in service to The United States. This is distinct from Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day relating to World War I, which is more generally intended to honor all who have served the nation; and to remember, and serve, those who have survived the struggles of military service, and actual combat. Over time, a range of memorials, have been authorized, and built. Interestingly, in recent decades, in reverse order, have been remembrances, and monuments, to the Vietnam Conflict, the Korean War (often called The Forgotten War); and World War II.

A small number of slides, will begin this presentation; then inviting personal recollections, by all of the participants, about their own experiences, and/or those of family members, as we explore the meanings of societal engagement, service, and respect.

Vincent Lawrence “Vince” Dixon spoke with us earlier this month about the history of vaccinations. He is a known Historian, especially focused on presentations including Colonial History; Current Events, and their Relationship to History; Church-State Relationships, and their Evolution, and Relationship with Civic Society; Parks, and Landscape History; and has taught, and tutored, as well. He has done work in curriculum development, and is a frequently published columnist, and speaker; and responds to custom requests. MASS PRESENTATIONS (a dba brand, of Dixon’s) develops a wide variety of presentations, media presentations, curriculum, and published materials, across a wide variety of audiences, and subject matter. Dixon has made presentations to the Winchester Historical Society: Religious Realities of Winchester: Houses of Worship & Communities of Faith; Schools of Winchester & Their Namesakes (including an exploration of The Lincolns of Massachusetts); Sports History of Winchester (A Virtual Event – by Zoom); and conducted Town Day Trolley Guided Tours. Interestingly, Vince was home schooled K-12, received his Bachelor of Arts Degree, cum laude, at the Harvard University Extension School and a Master of Education Degree at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He studied with Dr. Thomas H. O’Connor (1922-2012); University Historian of Boston College; long-time Dean, of Boston Historians.
  

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Friday May 13th, 2022 Vincent Lawrence Dixon - History of Vaccination and Immunization

In this session, historian and writer Vincent Dixon discusses The History of Vaccination, and Immunization. Knowledge of viruses, and their symptoms, is important to human survival, and civilization; and the treatment, and prevention of viruses. Over the centuries, the knowledge of these aspects has grown; our present circumstances reflect significant history, and research knowledge. There are many aspects that are of interest, ranging from knowledge, and research itself; through public education, public policy, and interactions between these concepts, and individual daily lives. Many aspects include reference to research discoveries, development of vaccine manufacture, and distribution of effective vaccines, across wide geographical, and societal ranges. Boston, and its twin city neighbor, Cambridge, have had a central role in these historical developments, and the life-saving deployment of vaccination processes. In addition, world-wide vaccination programs such as those engaged in by the World Health Organization (WHO), CEPI, GAVI, COVAX, and others, are important. Public Health Education, and Public Policy, intersecting with sufficient financial resources, are vital.

Vincent Lawrence “Vince” Dixon, is a known Historian, especially focused on presentations including Colonial History; Current Events, and their Relationship to History; Church-State Relationships, and their Evolution, and Relationship with Civic Society; Parks, and Landscape History; and has taught, and tutored, as well. He has done work in curriculum development, and is a frequently published columnist, and speaker; and responds to custom requests. MASS PRESENTATIONS (a dba brand, of Dixon’s) develops a wide variety of presentations, media presentations, curriculum, and published materials, across a wide variety of audiences, and subject matter. Dixon has made presentations to the Winchester Historical Society: Religious Realities of Winchester: Houses of Worship & Communities of Faith; Schools of Winchester & Their Namesakes (including an exploration of The Lincolns of Massachusetts); Sports History of Winchester (A Virtual Event – by Zoom); and conducted Town Day Trolley Guided Tours. Interestingly, Vince was home schooled K-12, received his Bachelor of Arts Degree, cum laude, at the Harvard University Extension School and a Master of Education Degree at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He studied with Dr. Thomas H. O’Connor, University Historian of Boston College, the long-time Dean of Boston Historians.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Friday April 22, 2022 Bob Deering - Nuclear Power: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

Winchester resident, Bob Deering, will speak about Nuclear Power: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. Nuclear power has come a long way in the past 50 years. With the concern about climate change, nuclear power became a viable alternative to the use of fossil fuels. The same issues that nuclear power faced 50 years ago still exist today. They are location, safety, public acceptance and nuclear waste. With the proposed nuclear battery, the same concerns still exist in addition to the question of how, or if, such units would be connected to the electrical grid.

Bob is the son of electrician. He earned a degree in power distribution as well as a BS degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA. After graduation he was employed by Stone and Webster Engineering. In the 25 years with Stone and Webster he was involved with the engineering and design of 6 nuclear power plants spending 18 months in the field office with 2 other engineers providing engineering support to the construction forces at the Surry -2 reactor nuclear project. As the demand for nuclear power faded he changed professions and became a Director of Facilities for major hospitals in the Boston area. Bob Deering is the 2017 Winchester Chamber of Commerce 2017 Citizen of the Year and known for his work with the Winchester Public School construction projects.

Friday, April 8, 2022

April 8th, 2022 Friday - Richard Lindzen - Climate Change

In this presentation, Richard Lindzen, Professor (Emeritus) of Meteorology in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) at MIT will speak about climate change. Dick is not skeptical about greenhouse warming per se, but he considers the contribution of CO2 to greenhouse warming to be small. Also, there are other contributors to climate that are much more significant. In his view, in promoting any issue, it is important (in a propagandistic sense) to establish ones preferred narrative. In the case of “Dangerous Climate Change”, the narrative is that climate is defined by some global temperature that is, in turn, controlled by carbon dioxide via the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately, most of us accepted the narrative while pointing out the incorrectness of its details such as the assumption of positive feedbacks, the attribution of changes to CO2, and the ignoring of natural internal variability. However, the narrative itself is absurd. Nobody knows what the temperature of the earth refers to. What is actually presented is something referred to as the average temperature anomaly. The variations in this quantity are tiny compared to the scatter of the data points being averaged. At any given time, there are almost as many stations cooling as warming. The earth is characterized by numerous different climate regimes, and it would defy scientific practice to assign the behavior of these numerous climate regimes to this small residue. That said, the earth has been warmer and colder than it is now (viz the ice ages and the Eocene), and there has been no evidence of CO2 causality.

Richard Lindzen received all his degrees from Harvard. His undergraduate major was physics, and his Ph.D. was in applied mathematics, but his thesis dealt with the interaction of radiation, photochemistry and dynamics in the stratosphere. For the remainder of his career he continued to work in the atmospheric sciences. He has held professorships at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

March 25, 2021 Don Sadoway -- Electrochemical Pathways Towards Sustainable Energy


Don Sadoway, John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT, on Electrochemical Pathways Towards Sustainable Energy. A sustainable energy future is axiomatically an electric future whose realization depends in large measure upon electrochemical innovations. Two examples: stationary energy storage and carbon-free steelmaking. Grid-scale electricity storage not only treats the intermittency of renewable electric power generation (wind and solar) but also confers resilience on today’s grid. For example, the liquid metal battery provides colossal power capability on demand and long service lifetime at requisite low cost. In 2019, worldwide steel production, 1.869 billion tons, generated 9% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. As an example of novel approaches in this sector, molten oxide electrolysis represents an environmentally sound alternative to today’s carbon-intensive thermochemical process which produces an average 1.83 tons CO2 per ton of steel. In the narratives of both of these emerging technologies, there are lessons more broadly applicable to innovation: pose the right question, engage young minds (not experts), establish a creative culture, and invent inventors.

Donald R. Sadoway is the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science and Ph.D. in Chemical Metallurgy are from the University of Toronto. He joined the MIT faculty in 1978. The author of over 180 scientific papers and inventor on 35 U.S. patents, his research is directed towards batteries for grid-scale storage and for electric vehicles and towards environmentally sound metals extraction technologies. His accomplishments include the invention of the liquid metal battery for large-scale stationary storage and the invention of molten oxide electrolysis for carbon-free metals production. He is the founder of six companies, Ambri, Boston Metal, Avanti Battery, Pure Lithium, Lunar Resources, and Sadoway Labs. Online videos of his chemistry lectures hosted by MIT OpenCourseWare extend his impact on engineering education far beyond the lecture hall. Viewed more than 2,400,000 times, his TED talk is as much about inventing inventors as it is about inventing technology. In 2012 he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

October 1, 2015 Ron Latanision -- Unintended Consequences of Science and Technology

In the Fall of 2015, Judy Katz of the Jenks Center asked David Wilson to lead a discussion group on science and technology. The hope was that it might engage members of our community who have interest in things technological. David and I were faculty colleagues at MIT for many years. He asked me to give the inaugural talk. In our conversations about a topic, David pointed out that ”… I've been hearing discussions on concern that S&T is getting out of control. I wonder if something along the lines of ‘Are science and technology going too fast? Would you like to have a home robot that is smarter than you?’" On that basis we settled on Unintended Consequences of Science and Technology for my presentation on October 1, 2015. Dave served as moderator for the S&T group thereafter. Typical of the Wilson humor, David noted in an early meeting announcement that “…non-MIT people will be enthusiastically welcomed." Dave Wilson was a classic. It is fitting that the Forum that grew from the discussion group bears his name.
---Ron Latanision, 26 March 2022


Friday, March 11, 2022

Friday March 11th, 2022 - Ik-Kyung Jang - Optical Coherence Tomography,

Ik-Kyung Jang, MD, PhD, the Allan and Gill Gray Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) will speak about Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Plaque Erosion. Coronary OCT is an intravascular imaging modality that can be performed during cardiac catheterization. Its higher resolution has allowed visualization of detailed coronary plaque structure.

The talk will offer an overview of:
  • History of OCT application in Cardiology
  • A new in vivo diagnosis of plaque erosion in patients with acute heart attack
  • A potential major shift in the management of patients with heart attack in the future
Ik-Kyung Jang, MD, PhD is a full Professor of Medicine at HMS and holds the Harvard Chair “Allan and Gill Gray Professor of Medicine”. He is the director of the Cardiac OCT Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and was the first incumbent of the “Michael and Kathryn Park Endowed Chair in Cardiology” at MGH, which he held from 2016-2021. Dr. Jang was named an “Eminent Scholar” at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, and has been a member of the nomination committee for the “Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine” for four times including the recent three consecutive years.

Dr. Jang arrived at MGH in 1987 after finishing his clinical training in medicine and cardiology, and receiving PhD at Leuven University in Belgium. Initially, his research focused on the pharmacology and physiology of thrombosis and thrombolysis. Over the years he served as the principal investigator of more than 30 clinical trials including multiple investigator-initiated studies. He pioneered in vivo vascular biology research using OCT in patients with coronary artery disease which began by performing the First-in-human coronary OCT procedure in 1998. In 2010 he established an international OCT Registry, collaborating with more than 25 sites in 9 countries. More than 35 fellows from 10 different countries have trained in Dr. Jang’s laboratory. He has more than 350 publications and has edited three textbooks. In April Dr. Jang will be awarded the “2022 Distinguished Scientist Award” by the American College of Cardiology in recognition of his major scientific contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge in the field of cardiovascular disease.
  

Friday, February 11, 2022

Friday February 25th, 2022. Yang Shao-Horn on Addressing Scientific Challenges Towards Mitigating Climate Change

Addressing Scientific Challenges Towards Mitigating Climate Change 

There is an urgent need to reduce our global carbon dioxide emissions to mitigate climate change. While low-cost electricity from solar and wind provides exciting opportunities to reduce emissions, converting electricity to efficient carbon-free or carbon-neutral energy carriers at scale such as stored electrons, fuels and heat remains challenging to deep decarbonization. Electrochemical reactions are central to electrification via batteries, electrolysis in making decarbonized chemicals, fuels and materials, and negative emission technologies, which represent three important capabilities to connect electricity with our energy demands. Fundamental research on surface and molecular sciences, electron/ion transfer, and ion transport is instrumental to address scientific challenges and make breakthroughs in the core technologies such as lithium batteries and production of hydrogen-based carriers and metals. In this lecture, we will address scientific challenges and recent progress in regulating surface oxygen activity and tuning interfacial hydrogen bonds to enhance the functions of lithium batteries, and electrocatalysis of water splitting.

Yang Shao-Horn is JR EAST Professor of Engineering and faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT. Her research is centered on investigating and tuning the kinetics and dynamics of electrochemical energy storage and making of fuels, chemicals and materials. Prof. Shao-Horn is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Electrochemical Society, the National Academy of Inventors and the International Society of Electrochemistry. Her work has been recognized by the Faraday Medal of Royal Society of Chemistry 2018, the Dr. Karl Wamsler Innovation Award from the Technical University of Munich 2020 and Humbolt Prize in Chemistry from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2020. She has have advised 100+ students and postdocs at MIT, who are now pursuing successful careers in industry including Telsa, Amazon and Apple, national research laboratories, and in academia (~35) including faculty positions at MIT and in Europe and Asia.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Friday February 11th, 2022 Jacopo Buongiorno follow up questions and discussion

Please note This meeting will begin at 9:30 am

When Professor Jacopo Buongiorno spoke with us about Nuclear Batteries in December, it was clear that there were many questions that we did not have time to consider. He has agreed to return to address these questions on February 11th, again at 9:30 am. He has asked if we would let him know the questions our group would like to focus on in advance. A list has been assembled and will be circulated to you separately.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Friday January 28th, 2022 Hugh Wright: An Ice Core Climate Model: Where we Were, Are and Will Be and Actionable Strategies

Hugh Wright will speak on An Ice Core Climate Model: Where we Were, Are and Will Be and Actionable Strategies. He will present a geophysical model that relates transient earth temperatures to the varying CO2 forcing function. Vostok ice core data quantifies the CO2 concentration and mid latitude surface temperature over the past 400,000 years. With a subset of the data that corresponds to times when CO2 and temperature were stable, and data from the past 170 years, we calculate the response time of earth following a change in CO2 concentration. Having characterized the Earth's transient response to varying CO2 we have a simple means of estimating future temperatures provided we speculate regarding future CO2 concentrations. He will illustrate the technique with two future scenarios,1) net zero by 2050 then stable forever, and 2) a successive, massively aggressive negative emissions strategy after 2050.

The story isn't complete without considering effective, scalable, affordable sequestration techniques. A summary of a few approaches (direct air capture, mineral accretion, reforesting, etc.) will precede discussion of a promising new technique, pyrolytic biomass carbon stabilization and current efforts to scale this using industrial techniques. In a free market, this will not happen unless the process is profitable, so the business aspects and what some entrepreneurs are dong will be discussed.

Hugh graduated from RPI in 1956 with BS in Geology/Geophysics. His first job was at Lamont Labs [now Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory], a geophysical research arm of Columbia. These were exciting times; 1957 was International Geophysical Year. Earth plate techtonics were actively debated. The field researchers [Scripts, Woods Hole, Lamont] were turning up very convincing field data, the theorists an Morningside Heights and elsewhere said continental drift was a physical impossibility and a frivolous distraction. In his words, “As the junior guy at Lamont I got asked to install a seismometer on Cornwallis Island in northern Canada, essentially at the magnetic north pole. Three weeks of -40 temps later I got it done. Meanwhile a Russian team was setting up the Vostok research station at the south pole that produced the data I will discuss. My boss installed a seismometer in I believe it was Hawaii!”

During the Vietnam era, he joined the Navy and spent 5 years piloting long range anti-submarine patrol aircraft, flying missions from Spitsbergen to Panama. Following that he went to MIT for a masters in geophysics (1964), worked in industry (Avco) for 7 years, then research at BBN for 13 years, followed by 30 years or so with several instrumentation based entrepreneurial startups. He is currently President/General Partner of Technology Development Collaborative, an industrial sensor company.

“For the past 2 years, I have been obsessed with environmental issues, and have done a lot of independent analysis that is the basis of my talk and a book Environmental Strategies that is available as an ebook on Amazon.”


Monday, January 3, 2022

Friday January 14th, 2021 Ali Mosleh on Risk Assessment

At this meeting, UCLA Professor Ali Mosleh will speak about risk assessment, a key to life prediction in engineering systems of all kinds. Methods and applications of risk analysis have gone through more than 50 years of evolution and advancement, and currently enjoy wide acceptance in many fields of science, technology, policy, and planning. Over the past two decades significant progress has been made in formalization of the foundational theories and introduction of advanced techniques for more comprehensive quantitative risk assessments and more effective support for risk-informed decision making. These advancements are seen in all sub-disciplines of risk sciences including reliability engineering, system safety, cyber-physical system security, and resilience engineering. The talk will offer an overview of the discipline and two recent applications: Wildfire risk management of California electric power network, and COVID-19 risk-informed mitigation decision support.

Ali Mosleh is a UCLA Distinguished University Professor, and Evelyn Knight Endowed Chair in Engineering. He is also the director of the UCLA Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences. Prior to joining UCLA in 2014 he was the Nicole J. Kim Eminent Professor in Reliability Engineering and the Director of the Center for Risk and Reliability at the University of Maryland. He conducts research on methods for probabilistic risk analysis and reliability of complex systems, holds several patents, and has edited, authored, or co-authored over 700 publications including books, guidebooks, and technical papers. He was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in 2010, is a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis and the American Nuclear Society, and recipient of several scientific achievement awards. He has served as technical advisor to numerous national and international organizations. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Friday December 10th, 2021 Jacopo Buongiorno on Nuclear Batteries: A New Way in Energy

Please Note: this meeting will start at 9:30am ET.

On December 10th, we will continue our conversation regarding approaches to meet the growing electric energy demand when Jacopo Buongiorno of MIT’s Department Nuclear Science and Engineering joins us by Zoom. Dr. Buongiorno will speak on Nuclear Batteries: A New Way in Energy. The concept of the Nuclear Battery, a standardized, factory-fabricated, road transportable, plug-and-play micro-reactor is introduced. Nuclear Batteries have the potential to provide on-demand, carbon-free, economic, resilient and safe energy for distributed heat and electricity applications in every sector of the economy. The cost targets for Nuclear Batteries in these markets are 20-50 $/MWht (6-15 $/MMBTU) and 70-100 $/MWhe for heat and electricity, respectively. He will present a parametric study of the Nuclear Battery’s levelized cost of heat and electricity, suggesting that those cost targets are well within reach. The expected cost of heat and electricity from Nuclear Batteries is expected to depend strongly on core power rating, fuel enrichment, fuel burnup, size of the onsite staff, fabrication costs and financing. Notional examples of cheap and expensive Nuclear Battery designs are provided.

Jacopo Buongiorno is the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Director of Science and Technology of the MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. He teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in thermo-fluids engineering and nuclear reactor engineering. Jacopo has published 90 journal articles in the areas of reactor safety and design, two-phase flow and heat transfer, and nanofluid technology. For his research work and his teaching at MIT he won several awards, among which the ANS Outstanding Teacher Award (2019), the MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellowship (2014), the ANS Landis Young Member Engineering Achievement Award (2011), the ASME Heat Transfer Best Paper Award (2008), and the ANS Mark Mills Award (2001). Jacopo is the Director of the Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES). In 2016-2018 he led the MIT study on the Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World. Jacopo is a consultant for the nuclear industry in the area of reactor thermal-hydraulics, and a member of the Accrediting Board of the National Academy of Nuclear Training. He is also a member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Space Working Group, a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society (including service on its Special Committee on Fukushima in 2011-2012), a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, past member of the Naval Studies Board (2017-2019), and a participant in the Defense Science Study Group (2014-2015).




Dr. Buongiorno has provided another paper:
Nuclear Batteries - Energies-14-04385 and a copy of the slides is also available: