Our Energy Future: Why American Science and Engineering Must Lead the Way
The set of challenges for the U.S. posed by global economic competition and dependence on foreign oil are precisely those that must galvanize the scientific and engineering community in coming years, says Samuel Bodman, PhD '65, Former United States Secretary of Energy. The Bush Administration, he claims, determined to convert these challenges into opportunities through its proposed energy initiatives. Bodman says, "America must do what it has always done best. We have to take risks: lead, invent and innovate."
The Bush Administration shifted funds and priorities to press ahead with programs to develop, among other things, energy from biomass, new coal technology and safer nuclear power plants. It also pledged to fund increased research in high energy and nuclear physics. And while the hope was that this multibillion dollar set of programs will help create clean, domestic energy sources to power autos and industry, Bodman says he "expects more from basic science research than new knowledge alone."
Bodman has "vivid memories of standing in my backyard in Illinois and making out the (Sputnik) satellite over head. I remember Khrushchev saying he would bury us. It was a time of fear to be sure-of Russian capabilities and of falling behind." He sees striking parallels to today, with our country confronting obstacles to its security and economic health and wellbeing. Just as the Cold War spurred the space race and tremendous growth in the sciences, with attendant economic benefits, so must today's increasingly competitive world fuel U.S. efforts "to maintain our scientific and technical superiority," which he hopes will serve as the economic drivers of the future. About the Speaker(s): Samuel Wright Bodman was unanimously confirmed as the 11th Secretary of Energy by the U.S. Senate on February 1, 2005. He leads the Department of Energy with a budget in excess of $23 billion and more than 100,000 federal and contractor employees.
Previously, Secretary Bodman served the Bush Administration as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury as well as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce.
Bodman graduated in 1961 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. In 1965, he completed his Sc.D. at MIT. For the next six years he served as an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT.
Bodman left to work in the financial sector, with positions at the American Research and Development Corporation, a pioneer venture capital firm and at Fidelity Investments, where he was named President and Chief Operating Officer in 1983. He also served as Chairman of Cabot Corporation, a Boston"based Fortune 300 company.
Bodman is a former Director of MIT's School of Engineering Practice and a former member of the MIT Commission on Education. He also served as a member of the Executive and Investment Committees at MIT, a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a Trustee of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the New England Aquarium.
Host(s): School of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering
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