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C.C. Mei Distinguished Speaker Series with Prof. Arun Majumdar – Dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

4:00 pm

C.C. Mei Distinguished Speaker Series with Prof. Arun Majumdar – Dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

Please join us on Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 4 pm in Room 1-190 for the C.C. Mei Distinguished Speaker Series with Prof. Arun Majumdar. 

Refreshments: 4:00pm
Lecture: 4:15pm

Title talk: Climate & Sustainability: The defining issue of the 21st century

Abstract: The dramatic increase of human population and consumption over the last 100 years has led to exponential growth, both in the use of natural resources and the production of waste streams. The use of fossil fuels and the emissions of greenhouse gases is one example, as are the use of freshwater, minerals, plastics and others. This paradigm of economic growth is presenting unprecedented and interconnected challenges - global warming and climate change, water stress, food security, loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, and public health. While these trends and challenges were recognized in the 20th century, they have been elevated in our global discourse as the defining societal issue of the 21st century. This is raising the question about whether the current approach to economic development is sustainable without significant impact on humanity and our planet. In response, most major nations have now made climate commitments and more than 60 percent of major global corporations have announced climate or sustainability goals. The world is embarking on a once-in-a-century global economic transition; how to achieve these goals and commitments, however, remains largely unclear and uncertain. Addressing climate change and sustainability requires a deep understanding of earth, climate and society. It is a topic where science, engineering, business, law, social sciences, global health, and humanities are intricately connected. In short, the challenge is complex; and it spans all of academia. Therefore, our response to the challenge demands a whole campus effort towards a common goal. Recognizing this, Stanford University recently launched its first school in 75 years, with the goal of catalyzing an all-campus effort to address these challenges and offering an opportunity to reimagine academia and its value to society. This talk will describe scale, complexity and urgency of the challenge, and how academic research, education and the development of scalable solutions can provide significant value to the global society and our planet.

Bio: Dr. Arun Majumdar is the inaugural Dean of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. He is the Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Energy Science and Engineering, a Senior Fellow and former Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy and Senior Fellow (courtesy) of the Hoover Institution. Dr. Majumdar served in the Obama administration as the Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) and as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy. He served as a Science Envoy for the US Department of State and currently serves as the Chair of the US Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Dr. Majumdar was also the Vice President for Energy at Google and advises numerous businesses in the energy innovation ecosystem. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. His current research focuses on redox reactions and systems that are fundamental to a sustainable energy future, multidimensional nanoscale imaging and microscopy, and an effort to leverage modern AI techniques to develop and deliver energy and climate solutions.

The C.C. Mei Distinguished Speaker Series was founded and has been organized in honor of Prof. Chiang C. Mei. It aims to provide a vibrant forum for highly distinguished speakers, from around the world, to share their research with the CEE, MIT, and local Boston community.