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October 21, 2021
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

A Brief History of Transportation and a Look to the Future

Modern society has been enabled by energy use, fuels, and the machines to safely, quickly, reliably, and inexpensively transport both goods and people. While imperfect, modern transportation systems are nothing short of miracles of engineering.  As transportation systems continue to evolve and change, it is wise to consider the energy pathways of the past, where transportation energy has come from, and where it might be going to. In this presentation Professor Erickson reviews the past and casts a vision for the future where fast, safe, reliable, cheap and environmentally friendly transportation might be available to all. The discussion ranges from technical to historical, from autonomous vehicles to hydrogen fuel cells, from modern aircraft engines to the Wright brothers, from human folly to our amazing capacity to predict, and from coal to politics, battles, and world wars. 


Professor Paul Erickson of the University of California, Davis is a specialist in thermal science and renewable power technology. He has pioneered efforts to enhance heat and mass transfer in reacting flows by flow impingement and disturbance techniques and has experience in both theoretical and applied energy research.  He currently is the director of the UC Davis Energy Research Laboratory where he and his research team are striving to advance the engineering body of knowledge regarding energy conversion from primary energy sources, gas to liquid technologies, endothermic fuels and the utilization of novel fuels in both combustion and electrochemical systems.  Professor Erickson received his BS and MS degrees from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah and his PhD from the University of Florida   As a Full Professor and tenured member of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering faculty at UC Davis, Professor Erickson both performs research and regularly teaches courses in thermodynamics, advanced energy conversion, and instrumentation and transportation technology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He occasionally performs engineering consulting work in the field of energy conversion for both industry and governments around the world.  He is a devoted husband and father of six children and enjoys photography, backpacking, bicycling, rock climbing, canyoneering, and the sport of fencing.

Please e-mail for the Zoom meeting link.

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Science and Society Discussion Series: Transportation

Thursday, October 21, 2021