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Tech Day focuses on improving today's energy sources and tools

Energy--particularly the opportunity for near-term efficiencies and sustainable change--takes center stage at Tech Day 2007, to be held in Kresge Auditorium on Saturday, June 9. Tech Day is the intellectual highlight of Tech Reunions 2007, which is expected to draw more than 3,200 alums and guests to dinners, tours and performances on campus June 7-10.

Faculty speakers will explore political contexts as well as improvements in current resources and building construction. These research thrusts are part of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), which draws on the resources of more than 50 departments, labs and centers to help develop sustainable energy resources to power the world.

At Tech Day, political science professor Nazli Choucri will describe the political, economic and strategic contexts of diverse energy challenges and the international coordination necessary to secure sufficient energy for the future.

John M. Deutch '61, Institute Professor in the Department of Chemistry, will examine issues related to improving the use of fossil fuel and nuclear energy as renewable energy sources are developed. Deutch's recent work has explored national security consequences of U.S. oil dependence, nuclear options, China's energy options and the biomass movement. Deutch is author of "Making Technology Work: Applications in Energy and the Environment" and served as an advisor to Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton.

Deutch co-authored "The Future of Nuclear Power," one of the Institute's major energy reports, with MITEI Director Ernest J. Moniz, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics. The report documented the changes required in government policy and industry practices that would enable nuclear power to play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions and providing energy resources.

Improvement in the built environment is the subject of John Fernandez '85, associate professor in the Department of Architecture's building technology group. Fernandez will explore the ecology of contemporary construction. His effort involves identifying the consumption profile and resource requirements of existing buildings and formulating design strategies for reuse and recycling of building materials and components. He is actively working with the construction industry and the design profession to establish common ground for construction ecology partnerships. This work is described in his recent book, "Material Architecture: Emergent Materials for Innovative Buildings and Ecological Construction."

Participants at the reunion celebration, who come from as far away as Brazil and Japan, are signed up for more than 139 reunion events on and off campus. All alums and members of the campus community are invited to the Pierce Boathouse Sunday morning beginning at 7:30 a.m. to cheer on competing class rowers, from the classes of 1952 to 2002.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 6, 2007 (download PDF).

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