Understanding, inventing, and engineering mechanisms and materials for energy production, energy storage, and energy transport are among the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Materials-driven advances are key to technologies that counter the deleterious environmental and political impacts of the world's long-standing reliance on fossil fuels. Current renewable energy conversion and storage technologies are either too expensive or too inefficient or both. Materials science and engineering is at the core of the energy challenge: many key mechanisms that convert and store energy are dominated by the intrinsic properties of the active materials involved. Our imperative is to predict, identify, and manufacture new materials as comprehensively and rapidly as possible to enable game-changing forward leaps rather than our current path of incremental advances. This lecture will discuss the impact of materials design on the energy world.
The Wulff Lecture is an introductory, general audience, entertaining lecture that aims to educate, inspire, and encourage MIT undergraduates to take up study of materials science and engineering and related fields. The entire MIT community, particularly freshmen, is invited to attend. The Wulff Lecture honors the late Professor John Wulff, a skilled, provocative, and entertaining teacher who conceived of a new approach to teaching general chemistry and inaugurated the popular freshman subject, 3.091 Introduction to Solid State Chemistry.