While we continue working 7 days a week toward selecting the Class of 2010, I’d like to take an opportunity to thank the many awesome faculty members who have helped out with selection this year, including Alex Slocum, Steve Graves, Daniel Hastings, and Paul Gray. Each year, many brilliant professors assist in choosing the class. In previous years, these faculty members have included Wolfgang Ketterle, Patrick Henry Winston and Don Sadoway.
…Sadoway, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, works to make metal smelters environmentally benign. He invents materials and batteries that will help the world transition from a fossil-fuel-powered world to an “electrochemical” world where energy will be produced and stored cleanly. He tries to incorporate ethics into engineering.
“People are beginning to realize that climate change is the number one problem facing humanity, and I want to be in the cadre of engineers and scientists who come up with solutions,” he said.
His latest attempt to help people through science lies on a table in his office: a thin blue square that produces about as much energy as a quadruple-A battery, but has the look and feel of a potato chip bag folded in half. The sLimcell as Sadoway calls the flimsy battery, is basically made of thin foils – a radical departure from traditional batteries, which are typically heavy and filled with liquids.
One day, powerful but lightweight batteries like the sLimcell prototype will set people free of power outlets and the gas pump, powering everything from laptops to electric cars, Sadoway said.
That, in turn, will allow environmentalism to move forward. Electric cars will no longer be limited by heavy batteries with brief lives, and a “green” choice won’t mean a sacrifice.
You can read more articles about how MIT is trying to improve the environment at Environment in depth.