Sunday, December 26, 2010

Energy (and Other) Events - December 26, 2010

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, fantastic Festivus, a sensational Solstice (and how could you not with a full moon and an eclipse that, unfortunately, was hidden behind clouds - I know because I went out to look for it), and a kewl Yule.

Events are still few and far between this week and what there are will probably be cancelled due to the present blizzard conditions developing. Glad I have my solar LED lights and a fully stocked pantry.

Happy New Year and, still, Bah Humbug.




MIT Independent Activities Period
January 3 - 28

IAP is a month-long celebration of learning where anyone at MIT, from a professor emeritus to the cleaning staff, can present a course or lecture. It is primarily for the MIT community but if you don't make a scene you can partake of the educational banquet too.


Inspiration from Nature: Biomimicry Design Competition Preparatory Lectures
Kachina Gosselin
Wed, Fri, Jan 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28, 01-04:00pm, 66-160

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants requested to attend all sessions (non-series)

Have you ever marveled at the swiftness of a cheetah? The adhesive ability of gecko feet? The coherence of a flock of birds? Nature has an amazing ability to solve challenges that seem at first glance to be insurmountable. Peer into the design of natural systems and perhaps glean insight into solutions to the pressing problems facing our civilization. Compete to contribute to solving the greatest challenges of our generation.

Coordinated with The Biomimicry Institute and with guest lectures in topics from engineering to design to business development, this course will introduce you to basic biomimicry tools and concepts,encourage you to approach engineering problems from a systems thinking perspective, and help you create technically novel solutions with the simple elegance that nature inspires. This is a preparatory course to prepare students for a new biomimicry design competition to be held in the spring.

Sustainability is all around us, we just need to learn how to emulate it.
Contact: Kachina Gosselin, (617) 893-1988,
Sponsor: Mechanical Engineering


CO2 Emissions Control Options for Coal Based Power Generation
Ja'nos M. Bee'r
Thu Jan 6, 11am-01:00pm, 66-110

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the principle means of long term, significant CO2 emissions control in both new and existing coal based electric power generating plant.
Main technology options for CCS application, in high efficiency energy conversion cycles including
-Pulverized coal combustion in ultra-supercritical steam cycle
-Coal gasification combined gas turbine-steam cycle, and
-Oxygen blown coal combustion cycle are discussed for their RD&D needs, Costs and Timeline of deployment.
Contact: Ja'nos M. Bee'r, 66-301, x3-6661, jmbeer@MIT.EDU
Sponsor: Chemical Engineering


The Future of Food (2004 - 89 min)
Heather McCann
The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that are changing what we eat as huge multinational corporations seek to control the world’s food system. The film also explores alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture, placing organic and sustainable agriculture as real solutions to the farm crisis today.
Thu Jan 6, 12-02:00pm, Rotch Library: 7-238


Health Reform in the U.S.
Jonathan Gruber, Professor of Economics
Mon Jan 10, 10-11:00am, E51-345

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up

This talk will discuss the path to national health reform, the content of the recent health care reform bill, and where we go from here
Contact: Ruth Levitsky, E52-252, x3-3399,
Sponsor: Economics


Energy Futures Week featured lecture: An Efficient Future for Energy Use in the Built Environment
Neal Elliott Associate Director for Research, ACEEE
Mon Jan 10, 02-03:00pm, 32-141

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

Over the past quarter century, building energy efficiency has focused on improvements to components and equipment. While component efficiencies increased dramatically, the size of our homes and the number of energy using stuff has increased even faster. Looking forward, the focus for energy efficiency in buildings will need to shift to systems rather than components. This shift will involve transformations in how we build, and where and how we live. This shift does not mean that we can ignore component efficiency, because energy using appliances are proliferating, but that we need to take a more holistic approach to our communities.

Neal Elliott is the Associate Director for Research of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), coordinating ACEEE's overall research efforts. Elliott is an internationally recognized expert and author on energy efficiency, energy efficiency programs and policies, electric motor systems, combined heat and power and clean distributed energy, and analysis of energy efficiency and energy markets.
Contact: Jennifer DiMase, E19-370D,
Sponsor: MIT Energy Initiative


Energy Efficiency Research and Education at MIT (Panel Discussion)
Robert Armstrong, Leon Glicksman, John Reilly, Sarah Slaughter
Mon Jan 10, 03:30-05:00pm, 32-141

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

Hear about and discuss innovations in energy efficiency research and education at MIT with panelists from across the Institute.
Contact: Amanda Graham,
Sponsor: MIT Energy Initiative


Efficiency Forward Forum
Susan Hockfield, Tom May
Tue Jan 11, 11am-12:00pm, E62 Lobby Sloan

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

Join President Hockfield and NSTAR CEO Tom May along with invited dignitaries as they kick off Efficiency Forward: Partnering for Success - A Forum to Recognize Innovations in Energy Efficiency

Co-Sponsored by Campus Energy Task Force, Department of Facilities, EHS Headquarters Office, Sloan School of Management
Contact: Steven Lanou,
Sponsor: MIT Energy Initiative


Energy Education Open House
Jennifer DiMase
Tue Jan 11, 02-03:00pm, E19-319

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

Stop by the Energy Initiative to learn about the Energy Studies Minor, energy classes, student groups, fellowships, and current research projects. Chat with students and faculty involved with energy.
Contact: Jennifer DiMase, E19-370D, 452-3199,
Sponsor: MIT Energy Initiative


Community Centered Innovation: Insights from Continuum Design
Lars Torres, Kate Mytty, Gaurav Rohatgi, Gianfranco Zaccai
Tue Jan 11, 03-05:00pm, 4-231

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

Alison Hynd, Kate Mytty, Gianfranco Zaccai, Gaurav Rohatgi:

In 1999 Gianfranco Zaccai, founder and President of Continuum Design, visited South Africa to participate in a design exercise intended to develop solutions for a community facing extreme water problems. What he came away with was a new set of insights and principles regarding the design concerns of rural and peri-urban communities. Come learn with Gianfranco, MIT alum Gaurav Rohatgi, and PSC staff as they share their design sojourn and provide engaging, hands on design activities that will prepare you for more productive design experiences in resource scarce communities.

Sponsor: Public Service Center, IDEAS and the MIT Global Challenge
Contact: Lars Torres, W20-549, (617) 324-5176,
Sponsor: Public Service Center


Technology in Humanitarian Crises: MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Effort in Post Quake Haiti
Dr. Marc A. Zissman, Dr. Richard M. Heinrichs, Mischa M. Shattuck, Amanda C. Schiff, Michael Hartnett
Wed Jan 12, 12-01:30pm, E40-496, Light Lunch Provided

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants requested to attend all sessions (non-series)

Join MIT Lincoln Laboratory staff on the one year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake for a discussion about their efforts towards humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

This presentation will discuss the operation of the ALIRT 3-D laser radar over Haiti and show examples of the collected data. The information gleaned from this imagery was used to help determine the migration of the greater than 750,000 people displaced by the earthquake, in order to better plan for shipments of relief supplies.

Additionally, the development of a qualitative assessment tool and the data collection methodology will be discussed. This will focus on how real-time data supports decisions in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Contact: Dr. Marc A. Zissman, LIN-D-309, (781) 981-7606,
Sponsor: Lincoln Laboratory


Four Nuclear Lectures
Dr. Kosta Tsipis
Enrollment limited: first come, first served
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)

Dr. Kosta Tsipis will present four nuclear lectures:
Jan. 12, 2010, 2-3PM, room 5-233: The Physics of Nuclear Weapons
Jan. 13, 2010, 2-3PM, room 5-233: Effects of a Nuclear Explosion in a City
Jan. 19, 2010, 2-3PM, room 5-233: Nuclear Proliferation
Jan. 20, 2010, 2-3PM, room 5-233: The Origin, History and Accomplishments of "Pugwash"
Contact: Dr. Kosta Tsipis, 3-435B, 253-2228,
Sponsor: Mechanical Engineering

The Physics of Nuclear Weapons
Dr. Kosta Tsipis
Wed Jan 12, 02-03:00pm, 5-233

Effects of a Nuclear Explosion in a City
Dr. Kosta Tsipis
Thu Jan 13, 02-03:00pm, 5-233

Nuclear Proliferation
Dr. Kosta Tsipis
Wed Jan 19, 02-03:00pm, 5-233

The Origin, History and Accomplishments of "Pugwash"
Dr. Kosta Tsipis
Thu Jan 20, 02-03:00pm, 5-233


"Fuel Your Mind" -- A Primer on Transportation Fuels, Current and Future
William H. Green (MIT Dept. of Chem. Eng.), George Huff & Jim Simnick (BP Global Fuels Technology)
Thu Jan 13, 09am-04:00pm, 56-114

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up, lunch provided

How is crude oil converted into gasoline and other transportation fuels? Is the gasoline available in Boston the same as what is available in Chicago? What are biofuels and what is driving the demand for these fuels of the future? Which fuel properties matter for performance?

Please join us in this short course offered by engineers from BP and Prof. Green to answer these and other questions, and to gain a better understanding of transportation fuels, and fuel processing technology. Topics to be addressed include:

1. Fuel Performance Criteria
2. Refining
3. Gasoline and Diesel
4. Biofuels, Ethanol & E85

Contact: William Green, 66-207A, x3-4580,
Sponsor: Chemical Engineering


Climate CoLab Workshop
Robert Laubacher, Professor Thomas W. Malone, Joshua Introne
Thu Jan 13, 02-05:00pm, NE25-746

No limit but advance sign up required (see contact below)
Single session event
Prereq: None

The Climate CoLab is a web forum where people for all over the world can work together to create proposals for what we should do about climate change. It is a project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. The system combines web-based climate and economic modeling, structured online conversation, and new kinds of group decision making tools.

In this workshop, we invite students to learn about the Climate CoLab and share their ideas about how the project might evolve in the future. The workshop will start with a presentation on the Climate CoLab by Sloan Professor Thomas W. Malone. We then will invite students to undertake a series of tasks using the system. The final part of the session will be a discussion of possible future directions for the project, where we will welcome student input.

The workshop will be of value to students with an interest in sustainability, climate change, and emerging energy technologies. It will also be useful to students who would like to learn about next generation Web 2.0 technologies.

Attendees should bring a laptop so they can use the Climate CoLab during the session.
Contact: Robert Laubacher, NE25-753, x3-0526,
Sponsor: Sloan School of Management


Residential Energy Savings: Real vs. Modeled
Michael Blasnik, Independent Consultant
Thu Jan 13, 06:30-08:00pm, 32-141

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

Michael Blasnik will explain:
 How to save the most energy in your home
 Why real world savings don’t always equal modeled savings
 Why the energy efficiency field needs great researchers

Michael Blasnik:
 Has analyzed the energy use of millions of homes over the last 25 years
 Heads the energy impact evaluation for the National Weatherization Assistance Program
 Is feisty, funny, and informative

This event is cosponsored by MITEI, Sustainability@MIT, the MIT Energy Club, HEET, Cambridge Energy Alliance and Greenport
Contact: Jennifer DiMase, E19-319, 452-3199,
Sponsor: MIT Energy Initiative


Wind Energy 101
Katherine Dykes
Fri Jan 14, 11am-12:00pm, 3-133

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Single session event

Come join for an overview of wind energy fundamentals from the physical resource, to the technology, to the economics, policy and social impacts. For details on our wind energy activities, please see

Co-sponsored by the MIT Wind Energy Sub-Community of the Energy Club
Contact: Katherine Dykes,
Sponsor: MIT Energy Initiative


Plasma Science and Fusion Center IAP Series
Peter Catto, Abhay Ram, John Rice, Paul Rivenberg
No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)

This series introduces plasma physics research and areas of related interest at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center. See URL below.
Contact: Paul Rivenberg, NW16-284, x3-8101,
Sponsor: Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Using models to study climate
John Marshall
An approach to the study of climate that emphasizes modeling hierarchies, but based on a common set of modeling tools. Prof. Marshall will illustrate some of the science that such models facilitate in the context of paleo climate (focusing on the past 50 million years), exploring, for example, whether more than one stable climate might exist for a given external forcing.
Tue Jan 18, 11am-12:00pm, NW17-218

Climate change, nuclear proliferation and fusion energy
Rob Goldston, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
Tue Jan 18, 03-04:00pm, NW17-218

Fifty Years of Fusion
Dale Meade, Fusion Innovation Research and Energy (FIRE)
Wed Jan 19, 11am-12:00pm, NW17-218

An Alcator chronicle, or What happened to Alcator B?
Ron Parker
Wed Jan 19, 03-04:00pm, NW17-218

The challenge of fusion burn and ITER
Steven Cowley, Culham Center for Fusion Energy
Thu Jan 20, 11am-12:00pm, NW17-218

Recreating deep interior states of planets and stars in the laboratory
Rip Collins
Developments in inertial confinement fusion have led to new ways of exploring highly compressed materials, such as those found deep inside giant planets and low mass stars, where the crushing force of gravity makes matter extremely dense. Recent experiments show that such compressed materials have rather exotic properties; and some fundamental rules of condensed matter, chemistry, and plasma physics break down.
Thu Jan 20, 03-04:00pm, NW17-218

MIT study on the future of natural gas
Daniel Cohn
Use of shale gas has created a large increase in the availability of low cost natural gas, and with it new opportunities for reducing CO2 and oil dependence. This talk will discuss the MIT interdisciplinary study on the future of natural gas.
Fri Jan 21, 10-11:00am, NW17-218

Diagnosing plasma turbulence in tokamaks
Anne White
Scientists have made great progress in understanding and predicting turbulent transport in tokamaks, but challenges remain. Future fusion reactor development depends on using fluctuation diagnostics to monitor plasma turbulence, and comparing the results with advanced theory and simulations. This talk considers recent advances in diagnosing turbulent transport in tokamaks, and the path to predicting transport in ITER.
Fri Jan 21, 11:15am-12:30pm, NW17-218

Tour of Alcator C-Mod and the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF)
Tour guide TBD
Visit the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, a well-tested approach to fusion research that has direct applications to ITER, the world's largest tokamak, currently under construction in France. Compare this to the Versatile Toroidal Facility, a small student-built tokamak used to explore magnetic reconnection, the process observed in solar flares.
Fri Jan 21, 01:30-02:30pm, NW17-218


Introduction to Nuclear Power
Benoit Forget, Paul Romano, Jacob DeWitte
Tue Jan 18 thru Fri Jan 21, 10:30am-12:00pm, 4-149

Enrollment limited: first come, first served
Limited to 50 participants.
Participants requested to attend all sessions (non-series)

Course 1: Historical perspective of nuclear fission; Overview of radioactive decay and nuclear fission; Basic concepts of a nuclear power reactor. Course 2: Introduction of nuclear reactor safety. Discussion of reactivity and feedback mechanisms. Overview of defense in depth concepts. Discussion of Chernobyl accident. Course 3: Overview of the fuel cycle; From mining to waste disposal, this course will discuss ore processing, enrichment, spent nuclear fuel and long term disposal. Course 4: Overview of closed-fuel cycles possibilities such as Pu recycling and Minor actinides recycling. Introduction to fast reactors.

Particularly geared for Freshman.
Contact: Benoit Forget, 24-214, (617) 253-1655,
Sponsor: Nuclear Science and Engineering


Income Inequality in America
Frank Levy
Mon Jan 24, Tue Jan 25, Wed Jan 26, 10-11:00am, 9-450A

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants requested to attend all sessions (non-series)

In 2008, the top 1 percent of households received about 21% of all income, twice its income share in 1990 and roughly equal its share in 1929 at the end of the Gilded Age. Average household income in the top 1 percent doubled over these years (adjusted for inflation) while income of the average household grew by 5 percent.

This activity will consist of three sessions reviewing what we know about the causes of income inequality including immigration, technological change, the growth of the financial sector and international trade. We will also devote some time to discussing what is known about the consequences of inequality for national life.
Contact: Frank Levy, 9-523, x3-2089,
Sponsor: Urban Studies and Planning


MIT Physics Lecture Series:g
Exoplanets and the Search for Habitable Worlds
Professor Sara Seager
Mon Jan 24, 01:30-02:30pm, 6-120

No enrollment limit, no advance sign up
Participants welcome at individual sessions (series)

For thousands of years people have wondered, “Are we Alone?” With about 500 planets discovered to orbit nearby stars, the existence of exoplanets is firmly established. Astronomers are now able to routinely measure planetary sizes, masses, and atmospheres for a subset of hot, big exoplanets. The race to find habitable exoplanets is on with the realization that big Earths orbiting small stars can be both discovered and characterized with existing technology. Professor Seager will answer the four questions she gets asked most often: “What could aliens see, looking at Earth from afar?”; “When will we find another Earth?”; “Can we go there?”; “If we cannot go there, why look?”
Contact: Nancy Boyce, 4-315, 253-4461,
Sponsor: Physics




It is now possible to order tickets for "R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE" in Cambridge, MA. Performances start on Jan 14th and run through Feb 5th. During previews (1/14 - 1/18) all tickets are $35 (for A and B sections). After previews tickets are from $25 - $65 (the $25 tickets are for the last two rows in the theater).

You can take advantage of a special offer to see the Saturday, January 22nd 2:00pm or the Sunday, January 23rd 7:30pm performance by using the Promotional Code THIRTYVERTI for $35 tickets (Normally $50-$65) for those two specific performances. This discount can not be combined with any other offers such as Student, $25 advance or Senior Discount and are subject to availability.

Tickets are on a first come, first served basis, so please order your tickets for the play now.

Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 617.547.8300, or in person at the A.R.T. Box Office, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Please register for the event on-line at

Jan 22 Special Exhibit
====== ======= =======
After the Saturday, January 22nd 2:00pm performance, the Synergetics Collaborative, Foundation for New Directions (FND), Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), and American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) will present an exhibit featuring a special geometry activity led by George Hart of MoMath. Synergetics Collaborative, MoMath and FND will have people on hand to discuss, explain, demonstrate and engage participants with the displays. Some displays will be hands-on.

Jan 23 Discussion/Seminar
====== ==================
On Sunday, 23 January from 10am to 4pm, the Foundation for New Directions (FND) will host a discussion seminar on "Building on Marvin Solit's Work". We plan to break in time so that interested participants can go to the theater to see the Dymaxion Car #4 presentation (see next item).
Please either bring a potluck or pre-register and bring $15 so we can provide enough food for lunch and snacks.

Jan 23 Special Presentation
====== ======= ============
After the Sunday, January 23rd 2pm and 7:30pm performances, the Synergetics Collaborative and American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) will present a special presentation by Thomas T. K. Zung on Lord Norman Foster's Dymaxion Car #4. Thomas T. K. Zung was Buckminster Fuller's long-time architectural partner, editor of the book Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for a New Millenium, and a Distiguished Fellow to the Stanford University Libraries.

Anyone with a ticket stub for a performance of the A.R.T. production of R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE will be able to attend the special events at the A.R.T. by presenting their ticket stub to gain access. The special events are scheduled for 4:30pm after a matinee performance and 10pm after the evening performance.

Please register for the event on-line at

More details are on the event web page at

Editorial Comment: I have met the writer and director of this play and friends who saw it last summer in Washington DC enjoyed it. I will most definitely be at George Hart's presentation, having attended a couple of his presentations, learned a lot, and had much fun building geometric sculptures of his design.

If you want to see my own geometric modeling, you can watch this video at




Boston Food System

"The Boston Food System [listserv] provides a forum to post announcements of events, employment opportunities, internships, programs, lectures, and other activities as well as related articles or other publications of a non-commercial nature covering the area's food system - food, nutrition, farming, education, etc. - that take place or focus on or around Greater Boston (broadly delineated)."

The Boston area is one of the most active nationwide in terms of food system activities - projects, services, and events connected to food, farming, nutrition - and often connected to education, public health, environment, arts, social services and other arenas. Hundreds of organizations and enterprises cover our area, but what is going on week-to-week is not always well publicized.

Hence, the new Boston Food System listserv, as the place to let everyone know about these activities. Specifically:
Use of the BFS list will begin soon, once we get a decent base of subscribers. Clarification of what is appropriate to announce and other posting guidelines will be provided as well.

It's easy to subscribe right now at


Artisan Asylum

Sprout & Co: Community Driven Investigations

Greater Boston Solidarity Economy Mapping Project
a project by Wellesley College students that invites participation


Links to events at 60 colleges and universities at Hubevents

Thanks to

Fred Hapgood's Selected Lectures on Science and Engineering in the
Boston Area

Boston Area Computer User Groups


Energy (and Other) Events is a weekly mailing list published most
Sundays covering events around the Cambridge, MA and greater Boston
area that catch the editor's eye.

If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe to Energy (and Other) Events

No comments: