Baruch ’60 Center Conference Draws Solar Experts From Around the World
Experts from around the globe came together at Rensselaer Nov. 4-5 at the Baruch ’60 Center for Biochemical Solar Energy Research to discuss the development of technologies that run on the cleanest and safest energy production process on Earth: photosynthesis. The conference, titled “At the Interface of Natural and Artificial Photosynthesis,” was co-chaired by K.V. Lakshmi, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology and the scientific lead at the Baruch ’60 Center, and John Golbeck of Pennsylvania State University.
“The overwhelming need for carbon-neutral energy and the enormous potential of solar energy use is the driving force behind the recent conference at the Baruch ’60 Center,” Lakshmi said. “At the conference, we witnessed amazing research breakthroughs and important debates in the field of light-driven chemical catalysis. We are indeed pleased to have created an interdisciplinary forum that is the underlying basis of research on natural and artificial photosynthesis.”
The two-day conference brought together scientists from academia, government, and industry. Invited lectures covered photosynthetic processes from the solar-driven splitting of water to the production of hydrogen and CO2 reduction as well as the development of bio-inspired new technologies.
The process of photosynthesis is among the most efficient processes in the world. Capturing and replicating its power in new solar technology could result in a revolution in solar technology. It was the vast potential of solar energy research that inspired Thomas Baruch ’60, a member of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees, to help establish the Baruch Center at Rensselaer in 2008.
“My wife, Johanna, and I share the belief that meeting the global demand for energy will be a daunting task achievable via a technology revolution based on using plentiful solar energy with far-reaching efficiency,” Baruch said. “Real breakthroughs will come from talented researchers applying multidisciplinary approaches and innovative research tools. We are very lucky to witness these new ideas here at the Baruch ’60 Center and at Rensselaer today, where we are joined by exceptional talent in the field of natural and artificial photosynthesis.”
“The Baruch ’60 Center is critical to the future success of the School of Science at Rensselaer. It is both a research and educational resource, producing breakthrough discoveries at the interface of fundamental and applied science, and educating the next generation of energy pioneers,” according to Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science.
More information on the conference and the center can be found at http://baruch60center.org/group/index.php