RSVP—Deadline is Friday, March 30.
Meeting Attendee  |  MRS Guest

Fossil fuels have been our primary energy source for over 200 years. Although the benefits to human society of harnessing fossil fuel for energy have long been touted, its pervasive and extensive costs are now at a critical point.  This panel event, co-organized by MRS Energy & Sustainability and the MRS Focus on Sustainability Subcommittee, will convene top experts to discuss fossil fuel replacement from laboratory concepts to demonstrated technology and the challenges to achieving 100% replacement of fossil fuels by sustainable alternatives.

This special program will include audience Q&A as well as real-time interactive audience polling, so bring your smartphone and be ready to participate in this provocative session.

Discussion highlights include:

  • Will economic incentives alone drive deployment of solar and wind electricity, or are policy incentives required? What policies and level of investment are needed to bring exploration of laboratory concepts for fossil fuel replacement to technological demonstration?
  • What materials development is still necessary to better enable renewable technologies?
  • Given the timescale for 100% replacement of fossil fuels, what education and training of next generation scientists and engineers is needed?


Sydney Kaufman, Office of Senator Tom Begich, Alaska State Senate

Sydney Kaufman began her career as an AmericCorps VISTA volunteer working on energy and climate resilience for Alaska Native communities. She received a PhD degree in physics from the University of Colorado Boulder/National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where she studied the spectroscopy of transition-metal salts, and received a certificate in renewable energy policy through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory. After graduate school, Kaufman was The Optical Society/Materials Research Society/American Association for the Advancement of Science (OSA/MRS/AAAS) Congressional Science and Technology Fellow in the Office of Senator Mark Begich working on climate, energy and natural resources. As an AAAS Diplomacy, Security and Development Fellow in the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Energy Resources, she was the U.S. Government lead for International Arctic Energy Security. 

Kaufman is currently Chief of Staff to Alaska State Senator Tom Begich advancing clean energy, climate resilience and data-driven education policy on the State level.


Ying Shirley Meng, University of California, San Diego

Ying Shirley Meng received her PhD degree in advanced materials for micro & nano systems from the Singapore-MIT Alliance in 2005, after which she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and became a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

She currently holds the Zable Chair Professor in Energy Technologies and is a professor in NanoEngineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Meng’s research focuses on the direct integration of experimental techniques with first-principles computation modeling for developing new materials and architectures for electrochemical energy storage.

She is the founding Director of the Sustainable Power and Energy Center (SPEC), consisting of faculty members from interdisciplinary fields, who all focus on making breakthroughs in distributed energy generation, storage and the accompanying integration-management systems. Meng is the principal investigator of the research group Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion (LESC).

She received several prestigious awards, including the C.W. Tobias Young Investigator Award of The Electrochemical Society, BASF Volkswagen Electrochemistry Science Award, Frontier of Innovation Award and the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. Meng is the author and co-author of more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, one book chapter and four patents. Web: LESC and SPEC

Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Harvard University

Venkatesh Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Kennedy School of Government. From 2009 to 2015 he was the Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy and a professor of physics at Harvard and concurrently served as Director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center of Science and International Affairs. He was formerly the John L. Armstrong Professor and founding Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Dean of Physical Sciences at Harvard. Previously he served as the Richard A. Auhll Professor and Dean of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to that he was Vice President of Research at Sandia National Laboratories and Director of Solid State Electronics Research at Bell Labs.

Narayanamurti obtained his PhD degree in physics from Cornell University and has an Honorary Doctorate from Tohoku University. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Indian Academy of Sciences. He has served on numerous advisory boards of the federal government, research universities, national laboratories and industry. From 2011 to 2015 he served as the Foreign Secretary of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Academic Council of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Narayanamurti is the author of more than 240 scientific papers in different areas of condensed matter and applied physics and the author of two books. He has written extensively and lectures widely on solid state, energy technologies, computer, and communication technologies, and on the management of science, technology and public policy.

Martin Winter, MEET, University of Münster and HI MS, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Martin Winter has been researching in the field of electrochemical energy storage and conversion for more than 25 years with a focus on the development of new materials, components and cell designs for batteries and supercapacitors, in particular lithium-ion batteries. He holds a professorship for Materials Science, Energy and Electrochemistry at the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the University of Muenster.

He is the Scientific Director of the MEET Battery Research Center at the University of Münster, where outstanding equipment is combined with an international team of about 150 scientists, engineers and technicians. Since 2015, he is also Director of the Helmholtz-Institute Münster (HI MS) Ionics in Energy Storage with a staff of 70 scientists.

Winter is a highly cited author as recognized by ISI (Clarivate Analytics), The Shanghai Ranking, and Elsevier Scopus. He holds more than 30 awards and recognitions and several coordinator and manager positions in academic and industrial consortia and is the spokesperson of German Battery Research.


We hope you will be able to join us.

Elizabeth Kócs
MRS Energy & Sustainability

Margeaux Wallace 
MRS Focus on Sustainability Subcommittee