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Dr. William A. Peters

William A. (Bill) Peters

Executive Director
Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies

Room: NE47-411
Phone: 617.253.3433

BSc, McGill University (Honors Chemistry)
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Physical Chemistry)
Post-doctoral, Yale University (Physical Chemistry)

Dr. Peters is a university research executive with substantial accomplishments in the start-up, development, marketing to government and industrial sponsors, and management of single- and multi-disciplinary university research projects, programs and centers. His research, 70 refereed publications including 6 allowed U.S. patents provides new scientific and engineering understanding of fuel conversion and utilization, light metals production from oxide ores, environmental protection, and nano- and micro- length-scale effects in latent heat transfer. For over 25 years he held increasingly responsible research and research management positions at MIT including Associate Director for Fuels and Environmental Research in the MIT Energy Laboratory. In 2002 MIT appointed Dr. Peters Executive Director (Chief Operating Officer) of a brand new MIT research center, the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN).

Dr. Peters has been a leader in helping MIT develop multi-faculty, externally funded, multi-year research initiatives on: Health Effects of Fuels Utilization (NIEHS Center); Air Toxics (EPA Center); Chem Demil (ARO University Research Initiative); and Nanotechnology for Soldier Protection and Survivability (the ISN), plus numerous research projects on clean fuels production and combustion (DOE; foundations; industry; NSF). The ISN is an Army University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). Its mission is to help the Army dramatically advance Soldier protection and survivability through basic research at the frontiers of nanotechnology and transitioning promising outcomes of that research in collaboration with Army and industry partners. The ISN engages about 50 faculty members from 12 MIT academic departments, plus roughly 100 graduate students and 40 post-docs in over 40 research projects. Army funding of ISN basic (6.1) research is about $150 million over 15 years. There is also major financial support from the Air Force, industry and MIT, plus annually competed Army 6.2 (applied research) funds to help industry partners and Army Labs transition ISN basic research.

Dr. Peters is a member of the three-person senior leadership team responsible for ISN strategic planning; engaging new faculty; initiation, integration (scientific and programmatic), and marketing of new research initiatives; technology transfer; and partnering with the Army and industry. Dr. Peters is also responsible for assuring timely and efficient ISN service to faculty, students, post-docs, and research staff, and to the Army, other research sponsors, and industrial partners. He implements MIT and ISN policies, feedback from Army overseers, and decisions of the ISN Director. He directs ISN operations in Finance, Administration and Personnel; Outreach and Communications; Wet and Dry Laboratory Facilities; an annual Engineering Design/Prototype Building Competition for Undergraduate Students (MIT and USMA); ISN Headquarters; ISN Professional Research Staff; and ISN liaison with the DoD UARC and FFRDC communities, and with MIT Offices for Research Contracting, Corporate Relations, Human Resources, Intellectual Property and Technology Licensing.

Dr. Peters’ extra-mural professional service includes U.S. Government, industry, professional societies, and academia. His DoD contributions focus on technology assessment and forecasting including nanotechnology impact opportunities, e.g., participation in Future Warfare 20XX, Future Soldier Initiative War Gaming, the TRADOC Mad Scientist 2010 Future Technology Seminar, and the 2012 Army Basic Research Concept Exploration Workshop. He co-chaired the Long-Range Options and Systems/Operations Task Group of the Naval Studies Board Committee on Shipboard Pollution Control, and served on the Panel on Transform the Institutional Army at the 2000 AUSA Symposium on the Revolution in Military Logistics & Combat Service Support Transformation. He has briefed the Army Science Board; the Research & Technology Panel of the Defense Science Board Task Force on DoD Energy Strategy; the Naval Research Advisory Committee: Lightening the Load Summer Study 2007; the Air Force Research Laboratory Workshop on Readiness and Performance - Optimizing the 21st Century Warfighter; the Air Force Research Laboratory NanoScience and Technology Team; the Board on Army Science and Technology; the Army Chief of Staff Strategic Studies Group; CNO Strategic Studies Groups; the Chief Scientist of the Air Force; the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and numerous other DoD personnel.

Dr. Peters’ research interests are:
• Impacts of stochastic processes and tiny length-scales (nano, micro) on chemical, physical, and stability phenomena in closable systems, e.g. latent heat transmission and water vapor diffusion in porous barriers: Traum et al., J. Heat Transfer, 130, 042403-1 to 042403-11, (2008); Nanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, 15, 123-131, (2011);
• Scalable thermal and plasma-thermal process chemistries for production of metals and clean fuels, e.g. hydrogen and light liquids from biomass, coal, heavy oil: Peters et al., U.S. Patent 7,494,637, (2009).
• Sustainable energy for commercial and defense applications, e.g. Tester et al., Sustainable Energy Choosing Among Options, 870 pages, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA (2005); Second Edition, 1049 pages, (2012);
• Discovery, assessment, and prescription of novel science and technology to inform U.S. defense strategy and enable affordable, near- and long-range capabilities for complex missions in diverse domains.

MIT Building NE47, 4th Floor, 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 324-4700