George Crabtree: Argonne National Laboratory

Nov 2, 2011 | 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

George Crabtree

Senior Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory

The Sustainable Energy Challenge

November 2, 2011 | 4:00 pm | Elings Hall 1605

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The dependence on oil and other fossil fuels for over 80% of our energy and the continued emission of carbon dioxide threatening stable climate are captured in a single term: sustainability.  Although we generally agree that sustainability is valuable, there is less agreement on how much sustainability is necessary or desirable.  In this talk, three criteria describing increasingly strict features of sustainability will be presented and applied to evaluate the alternatives to oil and carbon dioxide emission, such as tapping unused energy flows in sunlight and wind, producing electricity without carbon emissions from clean coal and high efficiency nuclear power plants, and replacing oil with biofuel or electricity.  Implementing these more sustainable alternatives requires new materials of increasing complexity and functionality that control the transformation of energy between light, electrons and chemical bonds at the nanoscale.  Challenges and opportunities for developing the complex materials and controlling the chemical changes that enable greater sustainability will be presented.



George Crabtree is Distinguished Professor of Physics, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering at University of Illinois at Chicago and Senior Scientist and Distinguished Fellow in the Materials Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory. He has won numerous awards for his research, most recently the Kammerlingh Onnes Prize in 2003 for his work on the physics of vortices in high temperature superconductors.  This prestigious prize is awarded once every three years; Dr. Crabtree is its second recipient.  He has won the University of Chicago Award for Distinguished Performance at Argonne twice, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Award for Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment in Solid State Physics four times, a notable accomplishment.  He has an R&D 100 Award for his pioneering development of Magnetic Flux Imaging Systems.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a charter member of ISI’s Highly Cited Researchers in Physics, and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.


Dr. Crabtree has served as Chairman of the Division of Condensed Matter of the American Physical Society, as a Founding Editor of the scientific journal Physica C, as Divisional Associate Editor of Physical Review Letters, as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the National Magnet Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, and as Editor of several review issues of Physica C devoted to superconductivity.  He has published more than 400 papers in leading scientific journals, has collected over 15,000 career citations, and has given approximately 100 invited talks at national and international scientific conferences.  His research interests include materials science, sustainable energy, nanoscale superconductors and magnets, vortex matter in superconductors, and highly correlated electrons in metals.  He has led workshops for the Department of Energy on hydrogen, solar energy, superconductivity, materials under extreme environments, basic science for energy technology, and computational materials and chemistry for economic competitiveness.  He co-chaired the Undersecretary of Energy’s assessment of DOE’s Applied Energy Programs.  He has testified before the U.S. Congress on the hydrogen economy and on meeting sustainable energy challenges.

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