UC Merced Symposium Examines Emerging Solar Technologies

Nicola Cabibbo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, to anchor the university's first solar symposium

Students Heather Poiry and Kevin Balkoski accompany Professor Roland WinstonMERCED - Amid concerns about rising gas prices and the growing need for environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuels, the University of California, Merced, will host a solar symposium, "Solar Energy: Today and Tomorrow," at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 26.

The symposium, jointly sponsored by the UC Merced Energy Research Institute (UCMERI) and the Dan David Foundation, was designed to promote public knowledge regarding present and future solar energy technologies, and to examine the current state of the solar energy industry.

Nicola Cabibbo, Italian physicist, professor at La Sapienza University of Rome, and president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, will present the keynote address. He will provide insight into how solar technology is being implemented in Europe and describe how advances in solar technology can help to shape the global energy discussion.

The symposium will include expert presenters:
* Sarah Kurtz, principal scientist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
* Martha Krebs, deputy director for Energy Research and Development for the California Energy Commission
* Arno A. Penzias, venture partner, New Enterprise Associates, and Nobel laureate
* Jeff Wright, dean of UC Merced's School of Engineering and director of UCMERI
* Roland Winston, professor in UC Merced's schools of Natural Sciences and Engineering and Presidential Chair holder
* David Kelley, professor for UC Merced's School of Natural Sciences

The symposium will culminate with a dinner honoring Sarah Kurtz and Jerry Olson of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

In March 2007, Kurtz and Olson were honored with the prestigious Dan David Prize Laureate for their work toward the development of concentration solar power systems using multi-junction solar cells. Kurtz donated her portion of the prize, $225,000, to establish the Dan David Solar Endowment Fund at UC Merced. The gift is set up as an endowed fellowship to provide financial support for graduate students interested in studying solar energy.

The Dan David Prize was founded in 2001 by businessman and philanthropist Dan David and is headquartered at Tel Aviv University. Three prizes of $1 million each are awarded annually for achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world. Each year fields are chosen within the three Time Dimensions - Past, Present and Future. The laureates for a given year are chosen from these fields.

The symposium is free and open to the public. For more information and to register online, visit https://eng.ucmerced.edu/sett.

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