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BP's chief scientist to give Beckman Lecture April 29 at the U. of I.


Craig Chamberlain, News Editor

Steven Koonin, chief scientist for BP, will speak April 29 at the University of Illinois on the topic “Energy, Environment, Security: Can We Have It All?”

Koonin’s talk, scheduled for 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the Beckman Institute, 405 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana, is the 24th annual Arnold O. Beckman Lecture on Science and Innovation. It is free and open to the public.

By one estimate world demand for energy will grow by 60 percent over the next 25 years. Koonin will discuss the significant challenge in meeting that demand in an economical and environmentally acceptable manner. In particular, he will focus on the major forces shaping the world’s energy future and the technologies required to respond.

Koonin joined London-based BP in 2004 after nearly three decades at the California Institute of Technology. With a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he joined the Caltech faculty in 1975 as a professor of theoretical physics and from 1995 to 2004 served as the school’s provost.

Koonin is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research interests have included theoretical nuclear, many-body and computational physics; nuclear astrophysics; and global environmental science.

As BP’s chief scientist, Koonin is responsible for the company’s long-range technology plans and activities, particularly those beyond petroleum. He also has purview over BP's major university research programs, which include the Energy Biosciences Institute, in which the U. of I. is a partner.