Ko Lecture Series Focuses on Sustainability

Ko Lecture 2017

Jan. 26, 2017 — Chemist Daniel Nocera, a world leader in renewable energy research, will come to UC Davis on Feb. 9 for the second installment of The Winston Ko Public Lecture Series: Frontiers in Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

This talk, titled “The Sustainocene: A New Epoch,” explores the scientific breakthroughs and governance structures needed for globalizing artificial photosynthesis and promoting its role in environmental and social sustainability.

Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University, imagines a future where billions of people produce their own power by artificial photosynthesis. He calls this new era the Sustainocene—a world where cheap solar power meets global energy needs and people live in environmental and economic balance.

Since the early 1980s, Nocera has focused on providing energy for the world’s poorest people. His pioneering studies of the basic mechanisms of energy conversion in biology and chemistry led to his group’s invention of the artificial leaf in 2011. Nocera is now working on a system that uses genetically-engineered bacteria to convert solar energy into liquid fuel.

The talk begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, in the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) Ballroom. The Winston Ko Public Lecture Series: Frontiers in Mathematical and Physical Sciences is free and intended for a general audience. No reservations are necessary.

The Ko Lecture series was endowed by former dean Winston Ko upon his retirement from the UC Davis Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The series began in 2016 with a presentation from Veronika Hubeny, a UC Davis professor of physics who is probing the nature of black holes and gravity.

Ko’s gift is part of a challenge grant to establish a Professorship in Science Leadership to recognize an outstanding faculty member in the division. Fundraising for the Winston Ko Professorship in Science Leadership continues—contributions of any size are welcome toward this goal. Make a gift today.


By Becky Oskin, Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences