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:
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 UniversitĂ© du QuĂ©bec.

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:

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Friday November 12th, 2021 Quinn Horn: How big oil, an industrial accident in India, heavy metal poisoning, and dog food led to the development and commercialization of the lithium-ion battery in Japan.

Get charged up and join us to hear Dr. Quinn Horn on battery technology!


Prior to Alessandro Volta’s invention of the battery in 1799, the only type of electricity known to science was what we now call static electricity. The battery was the first source of reliable direct current electricity, and Volta’s invention ushered in a massive wave of scientific and technical advancements in the 19th century. World changing technologies like the telegraph, the electric motor and the economical extraction of aluminum metal from ore were all enabled by the battery. Fast forward to the end of the 20th century and we see an analogous impact from the commercial introduction of the lithium-ion battery in 1991. We now drive electric vehicles, carry the equivalent of a super computer in our pockets and light our homes at night with the stored energy of the sun, all thanks to lithium-ion batteries. However, despite the fact that for nearly two centuries battery R&D and manufacturing were centered in the US and Europe, the lithium-ion battery was commercialized in a country that as of the late 20th century had virtually no experience with battery technology: Japan. In this presentation we will explore the history of the development of the lithium-ion battery and how geopolitical events, industrial accidents, and a few questionable corporate decisions, led to the rise of Japanese dominance in battery technology.


Dr. Quinn Horn obtained his PhD in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from Michigan Technological University. He led the Microscopy and Materials Group at Energizer/Eveready Battery Company prior to joining Exponent, Inc in 2004. At Exponent, Dr. Horn consults on battery technology issues related to performance, reliability, safety and intellectual property.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Friday October 22nd, 2021 Kerry Emanuel - Nuclear Salvation

On October 22nd, we will continue our conversation regarding energy conversion when Kerry Emanuel of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences joins us by Zoom. Kerry is known for his views as a climate scientist for nuclear energy. His essay on Nuclear Salvation from the 50th Anniversary issue of The Bridge is given in the following link:

For your reading a succinct and informative document written by Kerry called Climate Primer. It is relatively short and a must read!

Kerry Emanuel is the Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science at EAPS. His biographical information from the MIT EAPS Directory.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Friday October 8th, 2021 Bob Lewis - Henry Knox and George Washington’s Artillery Logistics

Bob Lewis will join us again, this time to talk about Henry Knox and George Washington’s Artillery Logistics. Henry Knox was George Washington's Chief of Artillery. When General George Washington took command of the Continental Army in Cambridge July 2, 1775, the Army needed a victory. The militias that had responded to the alarm of Paul Revere and others had forced the retreat of the British Regulars from Concord to Boston, and now surrounded the British army in Boston. Washington needed cannons to drive the British out of Boston. Henry Knox had come to Washington’s attention during an inspection of fortifications designed by Knox near Roxbury. Washington consulted Knox for advice in November 1775 on the acquisition of artillery to drive the British out of Boston. Knox proposed a plan to transport the cannons captured at Fort Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys to the siege lines around Boston. Washington endorsed the plan and Henry Knox began the 300 mile trek to Fort Ticonderoga in November 1775. This is the story of that incredible and successful effort in the dead of the winter of 1775 to haul 120,000 pounds of cannons down Lake George and the Hudson River, and then over the Berkshires to Cambridge and George Washington.

Retired Navy Captain and Navy pilot Bob Lewis spent seven years with the U.S. Navy as an Aircraft carrier-based Patrol Plane Commander, serving on the aircraft carriers WASP, INTREPID, and SARATOGA. As a Naval Reserve officer, he flew P-2s and P-3s and commanded his Naval Reserve unit. In his 30 years as an engineer with the MITRE Corporation, he spent 7 years in Germany at Headquarters, US Army Europe, helping to develop joint communication systems to integrate the Army, Air Force and Marines. He later returned to Germany to lead the communications engineering effort for an alternate command post in Romania. Bob is a gifted narrator and story teller and has met with us earlier this year to talk about The Pursuit of the Battleship Bismarck and the efforts of Norwegian commandos in Preventing Hitler From Building the Atomic Bomb.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday September 24, 2021 - Follow up on Energy

We will continue to discuss energy generation and storage at our September 24th meeting. At this meeting we will begin (a) with conversation associated with the presentation by Dan Nocera on solar energy, and then (b) review the essays from the 50th Anniversary issue of The Bridge by Sara Kurtz on Accelerating the Growth of Solar Energy, and Rebecca Saive on Entering the Solar Era: The Next 50 years of Energy Generation. John Brown and I will moderate the discussion. The latter may be found on pages 98-101 and 134-137, respectively, of the Anniversary issue or in the following links: and

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Friday September 10th, 2021 - Dan Nocera - Transforming Society to a Solar Powered World

Our first meeting of the Fall is scheduled for September 10th: Dan Nocera of Harvard University will speak on Transforming Society to a Solar Powered World. The global energy challenge is of wo worlds: a world with a large energy infrastructure already in place (the legacy world) and a world with little to no energy infrastructure (the nonlegacy world). Consequently, in addressing the energy challenge, research must be cognizant of these two different energy worlds as they give rise to different targets. In the legacy world, the fastest path to implementing renewable energy is to integrate discovery with the established infrastructure. This talk will touch on the creation of the coordination chemistry flow battery, which allows for massive grid storage. The research path from bench to large scale manufacturing will be presented. On the other end of the spectrum is the non-legacy world. As will be shown, it is the non-legacy world that will drive future global energy need. Thus, this is the most important target for renewable energy to mitigate global carbon emissions. Two inventions will be presented: Artificial Leaf and the Bionic Leaf. These two inventions rely only sunlight, air and water to create distributed and renewable systems to produce fuel and food within a sustainable cycle for the biogenic elements of C, N and P. These discoveries are particularly useful to the poor of the world, where large infrastructures for fuel and food production are not tenable.

Daniel G. Nocera is the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University. He moved to Harvard in 2013 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy and was Director of the Solar Revolutions Project and Director of the Solar Frontiers Center at MIT. Nocera is recognized for his discoveries in renewable energy, originating new paradigms that have defined the field of solar energy conversion and storage. Nocera created the field of proton coupled electron transfer (PCET) at a mechanistic level by making the first measurement that allowed an electron and proton to be timed. On this experimental foundation, he provided the first PCET theory. Within this framework, he is the inventor of the Artificial Leaf and the Bionic Leaf, discoveries set the stage for the large-scale deployment of distributed solar energy for fuels and food production. Nocera has been awarded the Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy, Eni Prize, IAPS Award, Burghausen Prize, Elizabeth Wood Award and the United Nation’s Science and Technology Award for his discoveries in renewable energy. On this topic, he has also received the received the Inorganic Chemistry, Harrison Howe, Remsen and Kosolapoff Awards from the American Chemical Society. He has received honorary degrees from Harvard University, Michigan State University and the University of Crete. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Indian Academy of Sciences, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was named as 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine and was 11th on the New Statesman’s list on the same topic. He is a frequent guest on TV, radio and is regularly featured in print. His latest feature in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film, “Ice on Fire” premiered at Cannes Film Festival in May 2019 and was released internationally in June 2019. Nocera has supervised 168 Ph.D. graduate and postdoctoral students, 73 of which have assumed faculty positions, published over 500 papers, given over 1100 invited talks and 133 named lectureships. Nocera founded Sun Catalytix, a company committed to developing energy storage for the wide-spread implementation of renewable energy. His advanced technologies in energy storage are now being commercialized and implemented by the Lockheed Martin, the largest engineering company in the world. A second company, Kula Bio, is focused on the development of renewable and distributed crop production and land restoration by replacing the biogenic elements from air (C, N) and wastewater (P).

Monday, June 14, 2021

Friday June 25, 2021 Eddie Robins - The Past, Present, and Future of Energy Production: A Civilizational Perspective

Eddie Robins will speak on The Past, Present, and Future of Energy Production: A Civilizational Perspective. Humans have existed on the Earth in their current form for perhaps a half-million years, but it has been only in the past eight thousand years or so that civilizations have arisen and flourished. This is no coincidence. In these latter years, the world has exhibited an unusual climate along with an unprecedented stability, enabling relatively easy and consistent access to resources such as wood, water, oil, gas, metals, animal species to both work our fields and machines and provide fats to light homes and cook our food. Relatively reliable wind patterns have enabled ships to use wind power and navigate across oceans to colonize distant continents and islands. This use of wind energy for transportation is really an example of the more general case: Energy production is geared to service applications that humans demand. Those applications are changing, part of it being driven by the changing climate and its related issues, but also by the kinds of future demands that are evolving. Technology advancement is making the production and use of energy cheaper and more efficient, and new horizons are opening up, including potentially space travel and off-world colonization. We will explore the symbiotic connection of energy and its sources to its utilization, how it was in the past, how it is today, and, finally, how energy's future is being shaped and readied for the world of tomorrow.

Dr. Eddie Robins has had a forty-year career in scientific and technological roles across a number of industries and within academic institutions, as well as joint academic-industry collaborations. His academic pursuits have included the fields of atomic physics, nuclear fusion, surface/interface and semiconductor physics, software and algorithm development, complex systems & computer simulations, medical devices, telecommunications, and advanced data storage systems. He has worn a number of hats including teacher and researcher at the University level, industry scientist, R&D manager, consultant to large government and corporate organizations in technical and strategic planning roles, as well as advised and participated in a number of technological start-ups. His industry roles have spanned from simple Scientist to VP and Chief Scientist and industry consultant. At EMC (which is now part of DELL), his final sojourn, he served as a Reliability and Complex System Simulation Engineer and Individual Contributor, as well as internal consultant. He has authored many scientific, technical and industry studies, and is author of several patents ranging from Bayesian decision analysis, to reliability and data management in data storage systems. He received his bachelor degree in physics from Imperial College. London (1971), a Masters from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST - now part of the Victoria University of Manchester, UK) in 1973, and a Ph.D. (1977) from the same institution.

A Piece of Personal Philosophy:
Dr. Robins considers science as a way of thinking that enables us to understand the world as best we can, and accept it for what it is, so we can make decisions as well as we can. He is not unaware of the limitations of its approach, but that being said, truth is truth: Wanting it to be different does not change the reality. Unfortunately - or fortunately - we do not have that power, but we can choose how we take it, and what we do with it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Friday June 11th, 2021 Dr. Joel Myers - The Future of Weather Forecasting

Friday, June 11th, 10:30 am:  The Future of Weather Forecasting

Our next meeting is scheduled for June 11, when AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel Myers will speak with us on the topic of his essay from The Bridge entitled “The Future of Weather Forecasting.” Dr. Myers will first review the evolution of weather forecasting and how it has accelerated in fewer than 60 years from vague, general two-day forecasts to detailed, highly accurate, weather forecasts for pinpointed locations, extending weeks into the future. He will also highlight the roles of the three key sectors of The Great American Weather Enterprise – government, academia and commercial companies – and the quantum leaps achieved in saving tens of thousands of lives and preventing hundreds of billions of dollars in property damage as well as significant savings to business, industry and people in the U.S. and worldwide. As we will learn, twin pillars of the Enterprise’s success stand on the establishment of private-public-academic partnerships as well as on the innovations of the commercial weather sector due to a heady mix of ingenuity, creativity, vision and guts. The game-changing results: weather forecasts delivered with greater accuracy and detail, superior communications and displays and an increasing focus on weather’s impact to people and businesses, enabling them to make better decisions. However, America’s modern weather forecasting history packs its share of drama. Dr. Myers will trace this epic tale from its WWII origins, when government dominated the field, to the headwinds AccuWeather faced from government, parts of academia and business competitors, to hard-fought strategic alliances among the three sectors that have enabled the U.S. to produce the best weather forecasting services in the world.

Dr. Joel N. Myers is recognized as “the father of commercial meteorology,” the man who transformed weather into an industry and led the applications of weather forecasts to far-reaching societal and commercial benefit. Dr. Myers received three degrees from Penn State, taught its advanced forecasting class for 21 years, and served as a Penn State Trustee for 40 years. While a graduate student at Penn State in 1962, Dr. Myers started AccuWeather at his kitchen table.SP Over the nearly six decades since, he has guided AccuWeather through continuous innovation and growth to where it is today – the world’s most used and respected global weather information source. Every day over 1.5 billion people worldwide, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies, and thousands of other businesses and government agencies globally rely on AccuWeather’s forecasts and warnings to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more value from their day.

The link to the 50th anniversary volume follows:   The article by Dr. Myers is

Friday, May 28, 2021

Friday May 28th 2021 The Future of Artificial Intelligence

On May 28th we will consider essays from the 50th Anniversary issue of The Bridge by MIT’s Rod Brooks on The Future of Artificial Intelligence and by Bob Brown and Ken Lutchen on Organizing Academic Engineering for Leading in an Entangled World. 

Bob Brown is the President of Boston University and a former resident of Winchester. 
Ken is BU’s Dean of Engineering 

These essays are found on pages 24-29 of the volume. It would be helpful to review them in advance of our meeting. The link to the volume follows:

Eddie Robins and Ron Latanision will moderate in turn the discussion of the Brooks and Brown/Lutchen essays.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Friday May 14th, 2021. Bob Lewis - Battleship Bismark

Retired Navy Captain and Navy pilot Bob Lewis returns to the Wilson Forum on May 14th, this time to speak about The Hunt for the German Battleship Bismarck. 

Bob spent seven years with the U.S. Navy as an Aircraft-carrier- based Patrol Plane Commander, serving on the aircraft carriers WASP, INTREPID, and SARATOGA. As a Naval Reserve officer, he flew P-2s and P-3s and commanded his Naval Reserve unit. In his 30 years as an engineer with the MITRE Corporation, he spent 7 years in Germany at Headquarters, US Army Europe, helping to develop joint communication systems to integrate the Army, Air Force and Marines. He later returned to Germany to lead the communications engineering effort for an alternate command post in Romania.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Friday, April 23, 2021 Topics from The Bridge: Sally Benson, Judy Brewer and Jeff Jaffe

For April 23rd  we will again turn to the 50th Anniversary issue of The Bridge and consider essays by
  • Sally Benson on What Are We Waiting For? Lessons from Covid-19 about Climate Change and by
  • Judy Brewer and Jeff Jaffe on Imperatives For the Web: Broad Social Needs. 
Sally is Professor of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences at Stanford and Judy and Jeff are associated with the World Wide Web Consortium at MIT. 

These essays are found on pages 18-23 of the volume. It would be helpful to review them in advance of our session on the 23rd. 

The discussion of the essays will be moderated by Dan Metlay and Ron Latanision, respectively. The link to the volume follows:

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Friday April 9th, 2021 Two Essays from The Bridge 50th Anniversary Issue

On April 9th, our discussion will focus on two essays: 

(1) Joe Allen and John Macomber on Healthy Buildings. Both writers are faculty members at Harvard, Joe in the T.H. Chan School of Public Health and John in the Harvard Business School. John is the former Chairman and CEO of the George B.H. Macomber Company, a large regional general contractor, and 

(2) Norm Augustine on Bringing Space Down to Earth. Norm was the Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin. These essays are found on pages 11-17 of the 50th Anniversary Issue of The Bridge..

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Friday, March 26, 2021 Tim Cumings: Technology for the Blind

My Life With Technology, Past, Present, And Future
presented by Tim Cumings

Presentation Outline:
I. Introduction
II. Braille, the door to literacy
III. More high-tech and low-tech ways to access printed material
IV. Orientation and mobility
V. Personal note-taking from a blindness perspective
VI. Computers, DOS and beyond
VII. The smart phone revolution

I grew up in Winchester, graduated from Boston University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism, and completed my master's degree in theology in 1989. 

In 1990 I joined the Visually Impaired Blind Users Group, part of the Boston Computer Society. I later served as president and am currently the webmaster. I worked for twenty years as a customer service representative at Eversource. 

Since 2014 I have worked at Perkins School for the Blind as an assistive technology trainer and currently as a customer service representative.

In 2015 I joined Blind Information Technology Specialists, an affiliate of the American Council Of The Blind, served as a board member, and chair the presentations committee.

In my spare time I enjoy karaoke and digital audio editing.

The presentation was recorded with Tim's permission.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Friday, March 12, 2021 Dan Metlay: Future Technological Innovations

Our next meeting is scheduled for March 12th: Dan Metlay will speak with us on the topic of his essay from The NAE 50th Anniversary Issue of The Bridge – A New Categorical Imperative. The central theme of Dan’s talk is the proposition that future technological innovations almost certainly will differ from past and current ones; they will have a broader reach, intensify social complexity, and deliver more ambiguous and opaque consequences. Consequently democratic control of them will be increasingly problematic. The tests will be twofold: acquiring epistemic insights and sustaining institutional constancy. Dan’s essay begins on page 107 of the anniversary volume (available at Please review in advance of our meeting and come prepared for a full conversation.

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. As a Senior Visiting Scholar at the International Institute for Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University and 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.


slide deck:

Monday, February 15, 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021 Bob Lewis: Preventing Hitler From Building the Atomic Bomb

Preventing Hitler From Building the Atomic Bomb
Presented by Bob Lewis

Video of Bob's talk (February 2020) at the Lexington Veterans Association - the presentation begins at 13:48 in the recording.

As early as the 1930’s, German scientists were studying nuclear fission.  Heavy water, a key component in the development of a sustained nuclear reaction, was only produced in the quantities required at the massive Vemork hydroelectric plant in the mountains of Norway.  When war broke out and Germany invaded and occupied Norway, the Allies knew they had to deny the Germans access to this key resource.  

On Friday, February 26, Bob Lewis, retired Navy Captain and Navy pilot, will describe one of the most important acts of sabotage in World War II, the actions of small teams of Norwegian Commandos who survived months in a snowy wilderness to execute two successful missions that denied Hitler’s scientists the means to build an atomic bomb.  

After two failed attempts, the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) trained and sent a third team of Norwegian Commandos to destroy the facility at Vemork.  Armed with little more than parachutes, skis, light weapons, and explosives, they eluded on skis a huge Nazi manhunt.  On February 27, 1943, they blew up a major portion of the heavy water production cells.  On February 20, 1944, Norwegian Commandos sank a ferry carrying barrels of heavy water to the Third Reich, effectively ending Hitler’s quest for the bomb.  

Navy Captain Bob Lewis spent seven years with the U.S. Navy as an Aircraft-carrier- based Patrol Plane Commander, serving on the aircraft carriers WASP, INTREPID, and SARATOGA.  As a Naval Reserve officer, he flew P-2s and P-3s and commanded his Naval Reserve unit.   In his 30 years as an engineer with the MITRE Corporation, he spent 7 years in Germany at Headquarters, US Army Europe, helping to develop joint communication systems to integrate the Army, Air Force and Marines.  He later returned to Germany to lead the communications engineering effort for an alternate command post in Romania.    

Additional items mentioned in the presentation:

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Friday, February 12, 2021 Ron Latanision: National Academy of Engineering 50th Anniversay publication

Our next meeting is scheduled for February 12, 2021. At this meeting, our focus will be on the 50th Anniversary issue of The Bridge. In particular, our discussion will consider the NAE President’s Perspective on Unintended Consequences and the Keynote essay on Temptations of Technocracy in the Century of Engineering. Please read these short pieces and come prepared for conversation moderated by Ron Latanision. 

A copy of this publication was sent to you electronically earlier, but a link is also provided below:

Friday, January 8, 2021

Friday January 8th, 2021 Rich Adler, Artificial Intelligence, Launch Processing System for NASA's Space Station fleet

Welcome to the New Year!

Our first program of the new year will be on Friday, Jan.8, at 10:30 am and will feature Richard Adler who will speak on the application of artificial intelligence to systems such as rockets, power plants, computer networks, and intensive care units, and specifically his work in applying artificial intelligence technology to help automate operations support of the Launch Processing System for NASA’s Space Station fleet, as well as his other work in software.

Richard is a management consultant, software architect, start-up executive, and author. Early in his career, Rich designed and built artificial intelligence applications and tools for distributed computing. More recently, he developed tools and solutions to improve decision-making for problems including competitive marketing, counter-terrorism strategy, and enabling smooth organizational change. Rich took a double major in philosophy and physics at University of Michigan, earned an MS in Physics at University of Illinois at Urbana, and a PhD in the Philosophy of Physics from the University of Minnesota. He has published on topics including causation, knowledge management, component software, expert systems, distributed computing, and counter-terrorism strategies. He recently published the book Bending the Law of Unintended Consequences: A Test-Drive Method for Critical Decision-Making in Organizations (Springer, 2020).

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020 - 10:30 am - 12:00 noon


Our second meeting of the 2020-2021 season will be this Friday, September 25, from 10:30-12:00 PM.

We will start with a brief presentation on the invention of Polartec, that ubiquitous material that makes the cold days of Fall and Winter more bearable. We will then discuss plans for the Forum for the coming year. It would be greatly helpful if you could respond to the questionnaire that we sent out last week but, regardless, please come to help us plan for the coming year.

We look forward to seeing you all!

1) Zoom info and link

2) To join the Zoom Meeting click on: Meeting ID: 489 539 990

2) Link to the Wilson Science & Technology Group website

I will be handling the email distribution. So any additions or changes should be sent to .

Martin, Shukong, Ron, Tony