Energy and the Environment Headlines the 6th Annual “California: Prosperity Through Technology” Industry Research Symposium

Internationally acknowledged academic experts, industry, and government leaders collaborated to discuss California’s leadership role pertaining to energy and the environment


The focused theme, “energy and the environment,” attracted more than 300 participants to the sixth annual “California: Prosperity Through Technology” industry research symposium, hosted by The Henry Samueli School of Engineering on May 15 -16, 2007.  

Internationally acknowledged faculty and academic visionaries, together with key industry leaders, legislators, and government representatives attended this dynamic event, developed to create an interactive forum to discuss and explore California's leadership in addressing the global connectivity and conflict between the quality of the environment and the energy demand for electricity and transportation.


The two-day symposium was held at the Arnold and MabelBeckmanCenter of the National Academies, in Irvine, Calif., and was supported by 28 sponsors from leading companies in OrangeCounty.


The event’s sessions, organized by the symposium program committee chairs, Scott Samuelsen, Ph.D., director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center and professor of mechanical, aerospace and environmental engineering, and Soroosh Sorooshian, Ph.D., director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing and distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering and Earth system science, addressed the following topics:


  • California's leadership role and responsibility in creating environmentally preferred technologies and policies to meet future world energy requirements for electrical and transportation power
  • The effect of power generation, distribution, and utilization on the global environment
  • The global energy and hydrology cycles
  • The status of advanced observation technologies for monitoring the hydroclimatic processes of Earth.


Session speakers included:


May 15 – The Environment

  • Donald Dabdub, Ph.D., UC Irvine
  • James S. Famiglietti, Ph.D., UC Irvine
  • Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, Ph.D., UC Irvine
  • Thomas R. Karl, National Climatic Data Center
  • Eric Rignot, Ph.D., Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • William B. Rossow, Ph.D., The City University of New York/The City College
  • F. Sherwood Rowland, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate, UC Irvine
  • Soroosh Sorooshian, Ph.D., UC Irvine
  • Graeme Stephens, Ph.D., Colorado State University

May 16 – Energy

  • R. Daniel Brdar, FuelCell Energy, Inc.
  • Jamison Janawitz, General Electric Energy
  • Martha Krebs, Ph.D., California Energy Commission
  • Per F. Peterson, Ph.D., UC Berkeley
  • Pana Ratana, Shell Hydrogen LLC
  • William N. Reinert, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
  • Scott Samuelsen, Ph.D., P.E., UC Irvine
  • Harrison W. Sigworth, Jr., P.E., Chevron Energy Technology Company
  • Byron Washom, Spencer Management Associates

“Researching, discussing, and debating different energy initiatives and options, and environmental issues and challenges, not only affects our community, state, and nation, but also directly impacts the future of our planet.  I  am pleased that The Henry Samueli School of Engineering is at the forefront of exploring many innovative advancements dedicated to these essential research areas,” said Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos, dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering.  “This event provided an open forum to talk about energy and the environment with many of the brightest, most talented, and knowledgeable individuals in these specialized fields.”


Attendees also had the unique opportunity to hear from a prominent guest speaker during the symposium, Larry Smarr, Ph.D., director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).


Smarr, who is also the Harry E. Gruber professor of computer science and engineering at UC San Diego, spoke about how Calit2 was developed as an interdisciplinary research institute, focusing on technological advancements and studies across a multitude of disciplines, which will all be affected by information technology and telecommunications, including the water cycle and energy systems.


Following Tuesday’s symposium events, the School also held its annual dinner and awards banquet at the EngineeringPlaza on campus, in honor of selected outstanding faculty members and students. 


UC Irvine’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Michael R. Gottfredson, Ph.D., gave the keynote address, and talked about the overall relevance of the event’s theme, energy and the environment, as it relates to many research activities, advancements, and leading-edge, proactive technology occurring at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering.  He also discussed how energy and the environment currently has, and will continue to have, a significant impact on California’s prosperity and growth.


Gottfredson was then honored and thanked for his numerous contributions to the university community and The Henry Samueli School of Engineering.  An avid volleyball fan, he was presented with a jersey, signed by the team, by David Smith, a civil engineering student who is an all-American middle blocker on UC Irvine’s 2007 NCAA Championship men’s volleyball team.


Three guests of honor were also acknowledged with prestigious awards; Dr. Henry and Susan Samueli were recognized for their numerous contributions to UC Irvine, and worldwide philanthropy, with the Engineering the Future Award, and John Tracy, Ph.D., senior vice president of engineering, operations and technology at The Boeing Company, was presented with the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award.


“I am pleased to have the opportunity to honor three outstanding individuals who have truly impacted UC Irvine and their surrounding communities with their tremendous contributions in education, research, engineering science, and philanthropy,” said Alexopoulos.


Larry Smarr, director of Calit2, speaking with fellow symposium attendees


 Fuel cell hydrogen vehicle on display in front of the National Fuel Cell Research Center

Student poster session participants during the opening reception on May 15