I answered some questions to introduce myself to the readers of the new Nobel Week Dialogue blog – the line-up of other bloggers is fantastic, am looking forward to working with them all 🙂
This post appeared here: http://www.nobelweekdialogue.org/2013/11/laurie-winkless-q/
The event happens in Gothenburg on Dec 9th and will be streamed LIVE on the site homepage from 10am CET (GMT + 1). You can also follow the event via Twitter @NobelWeekDialog and Facebook. The official hashtags are #NWD13 #NobelLaureate and #energy. You can also submit your own questions to the panellists NOW too – please get involved 🙂
With this short Q&A series we introduce the official NWD13 English blog team.
What is your scientific background?
I have a BSc Physics with Astrophysics from Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in Space Science from University College London. I worked in the Functional Materials team at the National Physical Laboratory for seven years, on everything from characterising carbon nanotubes and low friction surfaces to organic electronics and nanomaterials for spacecraft. Most recently, my work focussed on thermoelectric energy harvesting – a technology whereby heat can be converted directly into electricity. This technology has been used to power deep space missions (including Voyager) and is being prototyped for use on the exhausts of cars, where two-thirds of the energy you put in, is lost, mostly in the form of heat.
Looking at the NWD13 programme – what sessions are the most interesting for you and why?
I think this event is about much more than just science. I’m really looking forward to the informal lunch sessions, as I think they should start some very interesting discussions about the societal aspects of energy and how we can communicate research. In the morning, I’m looking forward to hearing from all of the Nobel Laureates as they discuss the “unexpected contributions of curiosity” – I think it will be a fascinating session! Sessions 1B, 2B and 3A stick out for me in the afternoon – the challenge of sustainability, along with providing energy access across the globe and producing smaller carbon footprints – I think we will see some interesting debates and discussions in those ones. They go beyond science, they’re about humans.
Do you have a strong interest in any one particular aspect of the “Energy Question” (e.g. nuclear power, renewables etc)?
My research background has tended towards renewables and energy harvesting, so am definitely keen to hear everyone’s thoughts on those topics. And again, I want to learn more about energy access.
What do you hope to get / learn from this meeting?
#NWD13 is a truly unique event, in that it’s an open dialogue between the public, Nobel Laureates and other leading experts on a topic that has global implications. I hope that we all learn a lot from each other, that we have some good debates, arguments and disagreements, but that we all emerge feeling hopeful for the future rather than daunted by the challenge.