Hanscom Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Meeting


An Approach for our Nation to Meet its Energy Goals

Dr. Darryl Greenwood, Principal Researcher, MIT Lincoln Laboratory


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

MIT Lincoln Laboratory Auditorium

Refreshments: 3:30 PM, Talk 4 - 5 PM Joint Meeting with the IEEE Life Members


    President Obama has set for the nation a number of bold long-reaching goals for energy and the environment, including breaking the US dependence on imported oil, producing more energy at home, being more energy efficient, and reducing carbon pollution, all-the-while continuing to grow the economy.  These goals can only be reached with a realistic, far-reaching technical, financial and socio-political approach and commitment.  In this perspective on the energy problem, Darryl Greenwood makes the following points:


·        Getting the right answer for energy depends on getting the question right, which has not yet happened.

·        The answer is not necessarily driven by technology, science or engineering.

·        That energy is really, really big – you have no idea how big it is.

·        Achieving partial solutions through conservation does not imply pain and sacrifice or a reduction in our quality of life.

·        Energy is a national security imperative.


We drill down into a few energy-production scenarios that appear to have merit for the next decade – nuclear, concentrating solar thermal and wind turbines – with a goal of demonstrating the level of national investment needed to at least partially achieve the President’s objectives.  In the final analysis, it is not whether these objectives can be met, but whether we as a nation are willing to make the commitment at the scale needed.    


Dr. Darryl P. Greenwood is a Principal Laboratory Researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and a Fellow of the IEEE (elected class of 2009).  Dr. Greenwood has been with Lincoln Laboratory since 1975, prior to which he was an active-duty officer in the US Air Force.  His BS, MS and PhD are in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin (PhD: 1971).  At Lincoln Laboratory he has done research and led groups and divisions in programs involving electro-optics, atmospheric propagation, directed energy, biology and, now, energy.  From 1994-96 while on a leave of absence from Lincoln Laboratory, he served as Chief Scientist of the Air Force Rome Laboratory. He is a past member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.


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