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Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability

Department of Physics

Studying at Cambridge

Inaugural Winton Symposium

The inaugural Winton Symposium was held on 1st October 2012 at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. This one-day meeting on "Energy Efficiency" brought together some of the leading scientists from around the world to explore the fundamental limits set by science and engineering to the efficiency with which we can generate, store and use energy. This was the first of an annual series of topical meetings as part of the Winton Programme.

Links can be found below to some of the presentations from the Symposium and to the Symposium website

To set the scene for the symposium, Malcolm Keay from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies talked on the connection between energy efficiency and demand.

Malcolm Keay – Energy Efficiency and Sustainability.  What’s the Connection?

Man versus Machine

Energy consumption for computing is growing rapidly, Prof. Eli Yablonovitch, Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science at University of California Berkeley and Prof. Stuart Parkin from IBM's Almaden Research Center explored the trends and efficiency limits for computation and data storage respectively. Prof. Simon Laughlin Professor of Neurobiology at the department of Zoology in Cambridge explained why the brain in contrast is so efficient at computation.

Eli Yablonovitch – Searching for the Milli-Volt Switch

Energy Generation from the Sun

The sun is our primary source of energy, Prof. Jenny Nelson from Imperial College explained the limits for solar cell technologies and Prof. Richard Cogdell, Director of the Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre explored what we can learn from light harvesting in nature.

Jenny Nelson - Solar Cells

Richard Cogdell - Learning from Purple Bacteria how to Harvest Solar Energy

Energy Usage

Energy usage was discussed in the context of two major consumers of power, transportation and lighting. Dr. Donald Hillebrand, Director of the Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory covered conventional and electric vehicle technologies and their relative efficiencies. Prof. James Speck from University of California Santa Barbara reviewed advances and fundamental efficiency limits for solid-state lighting.

Donald Hillebrand – Advanced Vehicle Technologies: Outlook for Electrics, Internal Combustion, and Alternative Fuels

James Speck – Advanced Nitride Materials for Ultimate Efficiency Solid State Lighting


The symposium was organised by Prof. Sir Richard Friend, Cavendish Professor of Physics and Director of the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability and Dr. Nalin Patel the Winton Programme Manager.

Winton Annual Report 2019

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