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TEDxUCSB Walter Kohn "Prospects for an Earth Powered Predominantly by Solar and Wind Energy"

UCSB's Walter Kohn shares "Prospects for an Earth Powered Predominantly by Solar and Wind Energy."Nobel laureate, Walter Kohn was Born in 1923 in Vienna, Austria. It was ironically due to the Nazis that Walter Kohn first discovered his interest in science. Cast out of public high school, he enrolled in a Jewish school where two excellent teachers inspired him in Mathematics and Physics. As war loomed in 1939, his parents sent him to Britain where he was soon classified as an "enemy alien" and shipped to Canada. After almost two years of internment, he was enabled by helpful Canadians to enter the excellent Mathematics and Physics program at the University of Toronto while working on designs for electrical instruments for American bombers. Towards the end of World War II he served in the Canadian infantry.After earning Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Toronto in 1946, Kohn received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics and a postdoctoral fellowship with Julian Schwinger at Harvard University in 1948. This was followed by postdoctoral work at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. In the early 1950's, he worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories as an assistant to the group that developed the transistor.He has taught at many universities and done collaborative research around the world. He has made major contributions to the physics of semiconductors, superconductivity, surface physics and catalysis. In 1979 he was chosen as the founding director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California in Santa Barbara. Under his leadership, it quickly developed into one of the foremost research centers in physics and has been widely copied. He has received numerous awards including the Niels Bohr/Unesco Gold Medal, the United States National Medal of Science and the Richard Prange Prize. His role in creating Density Functional Theory, the most widely used theory of the electronic structure of matter, earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998.In recent years, he was an active member of the U.S. government's Basic Energy Science Advisory Committee and currently consults with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In 2005 he produced a documentary film on solar power entitled "The Power of the Sun" which has had worldwide distribution in multiple languages. At this time he continues his work on Macular Degeneration as well as renewable energies and global warming.
Length: 26:00


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