- Daniel G. Nocera, Harvard University, USA
Daniel G. Nocera is the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University. Widely recognized in the world as a leading researcher in renewable energy, he is the inventor of the Artificial Leaf (Time Innovation of the Year 2011) and Bionic Leaf (World Economic Forum Technology Breakthrough of the Year 2017). Together these discoveries accomplish a complete artificial photosynthetic cycle at an efficiency that is 10 times greater than natural photosynthesis. Complementing his interest in solar energy conversion, Nocera contributed to other areas of science. He has designed layered antiferromagnets to explore exotic states arising from highly correlated spins and he created the first quantum spin liquid from S = ½ spins on a kagomé lattice, a long-sought prize in condensed matter physics. His group has also broken new ground in chemosensor design by developing nanocrystal sensors for the metabolic profiling of tumors. This technique is now being used by clinicians to develop new cancer drug therapies. Afield from chemistry, Nocera invented the Molecular Tagging Velocimetry (MTV) technique to make simultaneous, multipoint velocity measurements of highly three–dimensional turbulent flows. MTV has been employed by the engineering community to solve long-standing and important problems that had previously escaped characterization.
Nocera is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Indian Academy of Sciences. He was named as 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine and was 11th on the New Statesman’s list on the same topic, and he is a frequent guest on TV and radio and is regularly featured in print. His 2006 NOVA show was nominated for an Emmy Award. And in 2010, he was featured in a full–length film, Cool It, which premiered on 12 November 2010 in movie theaters across the nation. His film with PF Pictures won the Jury Prize Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. His latest projects include the 2019 French film ‘Supernature’ and he is featured Leonardo DiCaprio’s film, Ice on Fire, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival in May 2019 and was released internationally in June 2019.
Before joining Harvard, Nocera was the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT. He has mentored 160 Ph.D. graduate and postdoctoral students, 71 of which have assumed academic positions, published over 450 papers, given over 1000 invited talks and 125 named lectureships. In 2008, Nocera founded Sun Catalytix, a company committed to developing energy storage for the wide-spread implementation of renewable energy. The assets of the flow battery were purchased by Lockheed Martin in August 2014, and flow battery is now being commercialized under the venture, Lockheed Martin GridStar™ Flow. The invention allows large grid scale storage, and thus has the benefit of accelerating the widespread adoption of renewable electricity. A second company, Kula Bio, was founded by Nocera in 2018. The company is focused on the development of renewable and distributed crop fertilization and land restoration.
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