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Science at the Theater videos

How to Bring Solar Energy to Seven Billion People
Cyrus Wadia
April 6, 2009

By exploiting the powers of nanotechnology and taking advantage of non-toxic, Earth-abundant materials, Berkeley Lab's Cyrus Wadia has fabricated new solar cell devices that have the potential to be several orders of magnitude less expensive than conventional solar cells. And by mastering the chemistry of these materials—and the economics of solar energy—he envisions bringing electricity to the 1.2 billion people now living without it.


The Energy Problem and what the Helios Project Can Do about It
Steven Chu
April 23, 2007

Dr. Chu, recently nominated as US Secretary of Energy, has been the formative influence in establishing Helios. Steve is the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and professor of Physics and Cellular and Molecular Biology of the University of California, Berkeley. Go here for a copy of the talk (ppt and mp3)

The energy problem is one of the most important issues that science and technology has to solve. The scientific evidence is clear: The earth’s climate is warming as a result of human activity, largely through our use of fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases that add carbon to the atmosphere. Projections on climate change predict a growing threat to society: the shrinking ice cap, decreased water supply, drought, huge population dislocations, effects on agriculture, etc. The challenge is to find and develop zero-carbon energy sources on a mass scale. Lab Director Steven Chu proposes an aggressive research program to transform the existing and future energy systems of the world away from technologies that emit greenhouse gases. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Helios Project concentrates on renewable fuels, such as biofuels, and solar technologies, including a new generation of solar photovoltaic cells and the conversion of electricity into chemical storage to meet future demand.

Nanoscience at Work: Creating Energy from Sunlight
A. Paul Alivisatos
May 14, 2007

Paul Alivisatos, Co-Leader of The Helios Project, is the Associate Director for Physical Sciences and director of the Materials Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab.  An authority on artificial nanostructure synthesis and inventor of the quantum dot technology, Paul is the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and a co-founder of several companies, including Quantum Dot and Nanosys. Recipient of many awards, Paul is also a member of the National Academy of Science. In Helios, he will use nanotechnology in the efficient capture of sunlight and its conversion to electricity to drive economical fuel production processes. Go here to view slides.

Capturing Solar Energy for Transportation Fuel
Nathan Lewis
May 12, 2008

Nate Lewis is George L. Argyros Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology / Beckman Institute Molecular Materials Resource Center, and Principal Investigator, CalTech / LBNL Solar Energy Research Center Scientist.

Nate Lewis’ talk looks at the challenge of capturing solar energy and storing it as an affordable transportation fuel — all on a scale necessary to reduce global warming. Overcoming this challenge will require developing new materials that can use abundant and inexpensive elements rather than costly and rare materials. Learn more about the promise of new materials in the development of carbon-free alternatives to fossil fuel.