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NANOCOLLOQUIUM: Ellen Williams: A scientist's-eye view of research for sustainable energy

NANOCOLLOQUIUM: Ellen Williams: A scientist's-eye view of research for sustainable energy

Ellen D. Williams, a renowned physicist and chemist currently serving as the chief scientist for the British oil company BP, will speak at the University of Maryland on Thursday, April 18, 2013.  

As the chief scientist at BP, Prof. Williams shows the company how developments in science and technology can contribute to sustainable, secure and environmentally responsible energy.

She remains a professor at UMD, where her research group maps out the positions of individual atoms in very small structures to explore the special consequences of fluctuations that arise at the nanoscale.

She is a fellow of several prestigious science societies; is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; and was named University of Maryland Distinguished Faculty Research Fellow for 1996-1998 and University of Maryland Outstanding Woman of the Year in 1996.

Prof. Williams’ talk will be held in the Marker Seminar Room of the Chemistry Building (Room 0112) from 4:00-5:00pm. Light refreshments will be served at 3:30pm.

This is a joint presentation of the Maryland NanoCenter and the University of Maryland Energy Research Center.


Abstract by Prof. Williams:

A scientist's eye view of research for sustainable energy

We face one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century: providing more and more energy to meet rising demand, but keeping it affordable, secure, reliable and sustainable. But ‘sustainable’ means different things to different people – from discovering and recovering more oil and gas to minimizing the impacts on natural resources used in energy. In this talk, Ellen Williams will outline the importance of scientific research to both finding new solutions and providing trusted data to underpin informed decisions about energy, water, land and minerals.  Three examples of research addressing these topics will be presented from a perspective of the scientific challenges in delivering new value in the energy system.  These will span the disciplinary space of geoscience, chemistry, biology and natural resource systems.



  • Department of Physics
  • Institute for Physical Science and Technology
  • Chemical Physics Program
  • UMD-Nanocenter


Read more about Prof. Williams’ expedition into industrial physics and chemistry

“Chief scientist Ellen Williams seeks to bring new energy to BP”, Physics Today, January 2012

“Science and technology: A meeting of minds”, BP Magazine, 2012

“The materials that make an energy company: BP chief scientist Ellen Williams discusses sustainable energy”, MRS Bulletin

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