Plenary Session – Prof. Cherry Murray

Plenary Session 10:00 AM, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017

Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy and
Professor of Physics in Harvard University

Prof. Cherry Murray

Cherry Murray, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Physics, Harvard University, has made research accomplishments in the areas of light scattering, soft condensed matter physics, surface physics and nanostructures.  Her current interests are in public policy for science and technology and national security.

Dr. Murray served as the Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, from 2015 until 2017, overseeing $5.5 billion in competitive scientific research in the areas of advanced scientific computing, basic energy sciences, biological and environmental sciences, fusion energy sciences, high energy physics, and nuclear physics, as well as the management of 10 national laboratories.  She was dean of Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 2009 until 2014, and Principal Associate Director for Science and Technology from 2007 to 2009 and Deputy Director for Science and Technology from 2004 to 2007 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  From 1978 to 2004, Dr. Murray held a number of positions at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, formerly AT&T Bell Laboratories and previously Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.


Grand Challenges for Research and Development in Sustainable Energy Systems

There is an enormous need for clean energy technology research and development to enable a global transition to sustainable energy systems. There are economic incentives for nations to invest in research and development to enable lower cost and more efficient systems: from 2010 to 2016, worldwide annual investments in renewable energy infrastructure have averaged about $250B. The build out of renewables over the next decade will need to be far larger in order to meet the 2015 Paris goal of reducing the worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases by 30% by 2030. Beyond 2030, new and vastly cost-reduced technologies for energy efficiency and sustainability in all sectors of the global economy will be needed, as well as enhanced renewable technologies, flexible and smart electric grids combined with efficient and low cost energy storage. In order to sustain the Paris goal of an earth temperature rise by 2-4 degrees, humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced drastically, to below 70% of current levels by 2050. I will suggest areas of fundamental science research in which advances are needed in order to meet this grand challenge.