Dean’s Seminar Series Welcomes Google Energy Chief Arun Majumdar

Lecture, ‘Energy and The Industrial Revolution: Past, Present, and Future,’ will be held at 4 p.m. November 21

For almost every action we take in our lives today, we receive the benefit of 250 years of industrial revolution — arguably the most remarkable period of human history. Thanks to that transformative period, our economy and prosperity grew exponentially and our population grew tenfold.

Arun MajumdarBut the energy practices that emerged — ones dependent on fossil energy — now appear to be unsustainable. Knowing this, how can science and engineering create a new industrial revolution for a sustainable energy future?

Arun Majumdar, vice president for energy at Google, will discuss this subject at 4 p.m. Thursday, November 21 in the ITW classroom in the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, 2133 Sheridan Road, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The talk is sponsored by the McCormick School of Engineering Dean’s Seminar Series and the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN).

Majumdar’s talk, “Energy and The Industrial Revolution: Past, Present, and Future,” will focus on the environmental and health impacts of our past, as well as the research opportunities and challenges in stationary power and transportation systems that could enable the transition of our energy economy to a sustainable one.

In October 2009, he was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to become the founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), where he served until June 2012. Between March 2011 and June 2012, Majumdar also served as the acting under-secretary of energy and a senior adviser to the secretary of energy.  At Google, Majumdar is driving energy initiatives and advising the company on its broader energy strategy.

Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Majumdar was the Almy and Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and the associate laboratory director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His research includes the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices as well as large engineered systems.

Majumdar is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.