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Department of Chemistry


The Durham Lectures 2010

Professor Daniel G. Nocera
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA


Daniel G. Nocera is the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Director of the Solar Revolutions Project and Director of the Eni Solar Frontiers Center at MIT. His group pioneered studies of the basic mechanisms of energy conversion in biology and chemistry. He has recently accomplished a solar fuels process that captures many of the elements of photosynthesis outside of the leaf. This discovery sets the stage for a storage mechanism for the large scale, distributed, deployment of solar energy. He has been awarded the Eni Prize (2005), IAPS Award (2006), Burghausen Prize (2007), Harrison Howe Award (2008), ACS Inorganic Chemistry Award (2009) and the U.N. Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization's Science and Technology Award (2009) for his contributions to the development of renewable energy. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He was named as Times Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Nocera has been an organizer to and primary author for four DOE Basic Research Need workshops: Hydrogen, Solar Energy, Energy Storage and Catalysis and he was a primary author of the Grand Challenges report (Directing Matter and Energy: Five Challenges for Science and the Imagination) to the DOE. He was also an author of the report to chart a course for energy research at MIT. And he is a lead author on the MIT Study on the Future of Solar Energy. He began the first Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Renewable Energy, which was held in January 2007. He has designed two permanent exhibits on energy for the MIT Museum and the Boston Museum of Science.

Nocera is a frequent guest on TV (CNN, ABC Nightline, PBS, ABC Nature's Edge, Jim Lehrer News Hour, NOVA, CBS, CNBC, Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, Brink and Plum in the U.S. and Explora and RAI in Europe), radio (NPR, Bloomberg News, CBS, BBC, All Things Considered, Here and Now, Climate Connections, Voice of America) and is regularly featured in print (New York Times, National Geographic, Forbes, Discover, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The New Republic, U.S. News and World Report, Outside Magazine, Wired, Technology Review). His 2006 PBS show was nominated for an Emmy Award. He worked with Robert Krulwich of ABC News to develop the pilot that was used to launch the PBS NOVA show, ScienceNow, which is now a regularly scheduled science program on PBS. He also worked with Mr. Krulwich and the web designer OddTodd to develop a five part series on The Lifestyle of Carbon. He opened the Mountain Film Festival 2007 in Telluride CO, the Aspen Forum in Aspen CO in 2008 and 2009, and the World Science Festival in NYC in 2008. He sits on several advisory boards and is currently working with several artists in the U.S and abroad, actors and producers in Los Angeles and major business leaders in the U.S. to help them develop a position that contributes positively to the energy and sustainability challenge confronting this planet. In 2008, he founded Sun Catalytix, a company committed to bringing personalized energy to the non-legacy world.


Monday 10th May, 16:30, D110,

The Global Energy Challenge 

Tuesday 11th May, 16:30, CG85,

The Chemistry of Solar Energy

Wednesday 12th May, 16:30, D110,

Personalized Energy for 1 (x 6 Billion)

(Preceeded by a talk by Prof Andrew Orr-Ewing  "Chemical reaction dynamics - from the gas phase to solution".  @ 15.00 in D110)

The Global Energy Challenge 

The first lecture was followed by a reception for Prof Nocera in the Musgrave room, where the content of the lecture and the implications for the future energy landscape were discussed.

Durham Lecturers

  • 2018 
    Prof. Nicola Spaldin
  • 2017 
    Prof. Marsha I. Lester
  • 2016
    Sir J. Fraser Stoddart
  • 2015
    Prof. James M. Tour
  • 2014
    Prof. David J. Nesbitt 
  • 2013
    Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger
  • 2012
    Prof. John F. Hartwig
  • 2011
    Prof. Jacob Israelachvili
  • 2010
    Prof. Daniel G. Nocera
  • 2009
    Prof. Gerard Meijer
  • 2008
    Prof. Christian Amatore
  • 2007
    Prof. Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao
  • 2006
    Prof. Bob Grubbs