Understanding and Improving Renewable Energy Materials – From Atoms and Up: Advancing Science to Meet Community Needs
FREEPORT — The 2017 Boyer Colloquium, “Understanding and Improving Renewable Energy Materials — From Atoms and Up: Advancing Science to Meet Community Needs,” is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend this presentation, which will be held in the Highland Community College Student/Conference Center, room H-201.
This year’s colloquium will feature Dr. Maria Chan is a staff scientist at the Center for Nanoscale Materials and Fellow at the Computation Institute, a joint initiative between The University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago.
Technologies such as batteries for electric cars and thin-film solar cells can have a significant impact on energy security and the environment. Optimizing these technologies for peak performance requires an atomic-level understanding of the materials used to make them.
But how is that achieved? Dr. Chan will explain how computer modeling, incorporating the principles of quantum mechanics, is used to investigate and even predict how materials behave and change. She will discuss how researchers work together to combine information from big computers, powerful x-ray, and electron microscopes, to “watch” materials in action at the atomic level, and to help improve their performance. She will also discuss the open questions, challenges, and future strategies for using computation to advance energy materials.
Dr. Chan is a staff scientist at the Center for Nanoscale Materials, part of the US Department of Energy-sponsored Argonne National Laboratory. She is also a Fellow at the Computation Institute, a joint initiative between The University of Chicago and Argonne to advance science through innovative computational approaches. Dr. Chan’s research focuses on the computational prediction of materials properties, using first principles, atomistic, and data science methods, particularly in applications toward materials in renewable energy technologies such as energy storage, photovoltaics, catalysis, and thermal management. Maria Chan obtained a B.Sc. in Physics and Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Boyer Colloquium, an annual event sponsored by the late Dr. M.E. Boyer, was created in 1994, to help students and communities understand the importance of the inter-relationships between ethics, economics, and ecology. The Boyer Colloquium Committee believes that if communities comprehend issues, the history of previous decisions and ramifications of prior actions, they will be better positioned to make informed decisions.