This Faculty Forum Online event took place April 27, 2011. Debate the topic in the comments. Also view the first webcast, about collective bargaining.
Recent events in Japan have shaken public confidence in the safety of nuclear power plants. Although the health consequences have so far been small, the Fukushima accident has rekindled fears of radiation around the globe and has renewed the discussion on the risks and costs of nuclear power. This puts into question the future of an industry that had been seen as one of the keys to avoiding the long-term threat of global climate change as well as nearer-term conflicts over scarce fossil-fuel resources.
The new Faculty Forum Online series continues. On Wednesday, April 27, from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. EDT Richard Lester PhD ’80, head of MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, will offer his thoughts on nuclear energy and take questions from the worldwide MIT alumni community via video chat.
Register for this free event to receive the link for live viewing. After the event, come back here and continue the conversation about nuclear energy in the comments.
About Richard Lester
Lester, who earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Imperial College (London) and a doctorate in nuclear engineering from MIT, has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1979. In addition to leading the nuclear science and engineering department, he is Japan Steel Industry Professor and the faculty cochair and founding director of MIT’s Industrial Performance Center (IPC). At the IPC, interdisciplinary teams analyze and report on the technological transformation of industry and the consequences for society and the global economy.
According to the MIT News Office, “Lester’s early studies of the nuclear fuel cycle laid the foundation for nearly three decades of interdisciplinary teaching and research on energy and environmental technology applications and the management and control of nuclear technology.”
He has led several major studies of national and regional productivity, competitiveness, and innovation performance in a range of industries commissioned by governments and industrial groups around the world.
Lester has authored or coauthored seven books on the nuclear fuel cycle, energy technology applications, and innovation management and policy. Made in America (MIT Press, 1989) with Michael Dertouzos and Robert Solow, which identifies five national priorities for America regaining the productive edge, is one of MIT Press’s all-time bestsellers. Lester also coauthored the MIT reports on The Future of Nuclear Power (2003) and The Future of Coal (2007), and has published many articles on the management and control of nuclear technology.
Recent books, authored or coauthored:
- Innovation—The Missing Dimension (Harvard University Press, 2005)
- Making Technology Work: Applications in Energy and the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
- Global Taiwan (M.E. Sharpe, 2005)
- The Productive Edge: A New Strategy for Economic Growth (W.W. Norton, 2000)
Lester on the Culture of Innovation
Lester’s MIT150 Infinite History interview about productivity, innovation, nuclear power in the U.S., and more.