Hoyt C. Hottel Lecture in Chemical Engineering
"Energy Innovation at Scale"
Under Secretary Koonin joined the Caltech faculty in 1975, was a research fellow at the Neils Bohr Institute during 1976 - 1977, and was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow during 1977 - 1979. He became a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech in 1981 and served as Chairman of the Faculty from 1989 - 1991. Dr. Koonin was the seventh provost of Caltech (from 1995 - 2004). In that capacity, he was involved in identifying and recruiting 1/3 of the Institute's professorial faculty and left an enduring legacy of academic and research initiatives in the biological, physical, earth, and social sciences, as well as the planning and development of the Thirty-Meter Telescope project.
As the Chief Scientist at BP between 2004 and early 2009, Dr. Koonin developed the long-range technology strategy for alternative and renewable energy sources. He managed the firm's university-based research programs and played a central role in establishing the Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of California Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Koonin was a member and past chair of the JASON Study Group, advising the U.S. Government on technical matters of national security. He has served on numerous advisory committees for the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense, including the Defense Science Board and the CNO's Executive Panel. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission and a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Koonin's research interests have included nuclear astrophysics; theoretical nuclear, computational, and many-body physics; and global environmental science. He has been involved in scientific computing throughout his career and is a strong advocate for research into renewable energies and alternate fuel sources. His academic research in computational and nuclear physics has impacted the direction of science both nationally and internationally. He has supervised more than 25 PhD students, produced more than 200 peer-reviewed research publications, and authored or edited 3 books, including a pioneering textbook on Computational Physics in 1985.