University of Pittsburgh
September 21, 2006

Caltech Scientist to Present Provost Lecture on Sustainable Energy Technology Oct. 6 at Pitt's Science2006

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Nathan S. Lewis, an internationally recognized scientist at the California Institute of Technology, will present the Provost Lecture at the University of Pittsburgh's sixth annual celebration of science and technology, Science2006: Feel the Power. The lecture is titled "Scientific Challenges in Sustainable Energy Technology."

Lewis, who is the George L. Argyros Professor, professor of chemistry, and principal investigator of the Beckman Institute Molecular Materials Resource Center at Caltech, will speak at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, in the 7th floor auditorium of Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The Provost Lecture is presented by Pitt's Office of the Provost.

Lewis is well known for his groundbreaking work as a chemist and his integrative scientific approach to developing sustainable energy technology. Among his lab's current projects are studies exploring light-induced electron transfer reactions, both at surfaces and in transition metal complexes; the photochemistry of semiconductor/liquid interfaces; new uses for conducting organic polymers and polymer/conductor composites; and the development of sensor arrays from these polymers that identify odors, mimicking the sense of smell in mammals.

Lewis's expertise as a basic scientist provides the foundation for his understanding of the technical, political, and economic challenges involved in breaking society's dependence on fossil fuels and making the switch to renewable energy sources. His detailed knowledge of the dynamics of energy production and transfer allows him to provide a practical and realistic assessment of the hurdles involved in switching to alternative fuels, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, nuclear, and geothermal energy.

After earning the Ph.D. degree in inorganic chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981, Lewis was an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford University before moving to Caltech in 1988 as an associate professor of chemistry. After achieving full professorship in 1991, Lewis was honored as the George L. Argyros Professor in 2002.

Lewis has been recognized as an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and a Presidential Young Investigator. He received the Fresenius Award in 1990, the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry in 1991, the Orton Memorial Lecture Award in 2003, and the Princeton Environmental Award in 2003.

Science2006 showcases the University of Pittsburgh's academic strengths in science, medicine, engineering, and computation, and the growing potential they hold as catalysts for economic development in the region. This year's theme, "Feel the Power," emphasizes the capacity that scientific research has for driving the development of innovations in medicine and technology.

The other plenary speakers for Science2006 are Stanford University's Roger D. Kornberg, an expert on protein transcription; Carla J. Shatz, Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor and chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School; and Baldomero M. Olivera, Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Utah and an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Also on the program will be spotlight sessions presented by scientists from Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University; a technology showcase highlighting recent inventions now available for licensing; a career development workshop for emerging scientists; and various networking and social events.

Complete details about Science2006 and registration information can be found online at