Top 10 ECS Podcasts in 2017

PodcastThe following is a roundup of the most downloaded episodes of the ECS Podcast in 2017.

1. Steven Chu talks climate and energy

Former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate, Steven Chu, delivered the ECS Lecture at the year’s 232nd ECS Lecture. Before he gave the talk, he sat down with ECS Executive Director Roque Calvo for an episode of the ECS Podcast.

“I think as a scientist, you have to be optimistic because usually what you’re doing is trying to shoot for the moon,” Chu said during the podcast. “My optimism comes from the fact that you’ve got a whole bunch of very smart people who are focused on all of the technical problems in the world, including sustainability, energy, and climate change.”

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Nokia recently announced the top three winners of its fourth annual Bell Labs Prize, which recognizes disruptive technology innovations with the potential to solve the critical challenges humanity faces within the next 10 years.

Nokia Bell Labs Prize

Click to enlarge.

This year’s competition attracted more than 330 proposals from 35 countries, which were narrowed down to around 20 semifinal applications shortlisted for collaboration with Bell Labs researchers over a two-month period. These refined semifinal proposals were then reviewed by the Bell Labs leadership team and the nine finalists selected, with each finalist having the chance to extend their collaboration with leading researchers at Bell Labs.

The nine finalist applications covered topics ranging from new approaches to machine learning, new materials synthesis, new human sensory technologies, new distributed computing paradigms, new battery technologies and new programmable radio and antenna technologies. The final judging event took place with a group of seven luminaries in the STEM field.

Joint second prize was awarded to ECS member Colm O’Dwyer, Professor of Chemistry at University College in Cork, Ireland, and Chair of the Electronics & Photonics Division of ECS, for his invention of a new class of 3D-printed batteries that could be incorporated into virtually any form factor, enabling new kinds of wearable devices with medical, health, communications and other future applications.

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We Choose to Go to the Moon

The following article was originally published in the winter 2017 issue of Interface.

By: Roque J. Calvo, ECS Executive Director

Free the ScienceUnited States President John F. Kennedy sent a powerful message to the country in his speech at Rice University in1962, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”

History has shown that it was not necessary to go to the Moon to win Kennedy’s challenge. His primary goal was to elevate U.S. national security during the Cold War when the Soviet Union was advancing as a world power and showing signs of superiority in their space program. The U.S. put a man on the Moon in 1969, but far more important was the spirit of innovation that was created, leading to world-changing new technologies in security, communications, and transportation, which was the true win.

Kennedy understood the importance of innovation and risk taking to the success of a nation and his speech permanently implanted this message into the ideal of science and the role it plays in advancing mankind. He continues to stimulate progress because in his words, “there is new knowledge to be gained … and used for the progress of all people.” It is amazing how Kennedy’s influence has prevailed. In a recent ECS podcast with Steven Chu,* the former U.S. Secretary of Energy and 1997 Nobel Prize winner said, “As a scientist, you better be an optimist … half the science I try to do is really shoot for the Moon.”

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National Academy of InventorsECS fellow Plamen Atanassov was recently elected as a 2017 National Academy of Inventors Fellow. Atanassov is among 155 renowned academic inventors awarded this year’s fellowship, which is regarded as the highest professional accolade bestowed to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.

Atanassov, a Distinguished Professor Chemical and Biological Engineering and Director of the University of New Mexico Center for Micro-Engineered Materials, focuses the majority of his research efforts on developing catalysts for fuel cells. His work in creating a platinum-free catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells has helped overcome major barriers in applications such as hydrogen-powered vehicles, which could play a major role in transforming transportation and reducing greenhouse gasses.

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Most Popular Articles of 2017

Year EndThe following is a roundup of the top articles published on the ECS Redcat Blog in 2017.

1. Impact factors on the rise

The journal impact factors for the Journal of The Electrochemical Society and ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology both rose by 8 percent this year. In July, Andrew Ryan, publication specialist at ECS, reported on the growth and what it means for ECS publications.

As a nonprofit society in constant competition with larger publishers with greater resources, ECS prides itself on disseminating the most groundbreaking and sought-after research to those who can use it to confront and resolve the world’s issues. This year’s JIF data indicates that ECS is not only doing its job, but steadily improving at it.

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OpenCon Q&A: Changing Culture

We are podcasting the question and answer section of the live broadcast ECS did of the OpenCon satellite event held at the 232nd ECS Meeting in October of 2017.

ECS OpenCon was a community event aimed at creating a culture of change in how research is designed, shared, discussed, and disseminated, with the ultimate goal of making scientific progress faster.

ECS was the first scholarly society to host an OpenCon satellite event.

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2017 Canada Section Awards

Canadian flagThe ECS Canada Section recently awarded Leah Ellis and Yurij Mozharivskyj the 2017 Canada Section Student Award and W. Lash Miller Award, respectively.

Canada Section Student Award

The Canada Section Student Award was established in 1987 to recognize promising young scientists and engineers in the field of electrochemical power sources. The 2017 award went to Leah Ellis, a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University working in lithium-ion battery research.

“This ECS Canada Section Student Award is very prestigious,” Ellis said. “Looking at the list of past award winners, I feel very honored and humbled to be included in this list. The award is very inspiring to me, and I hope to live up to its reputation.”

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Royal Society of Chemistry2018 Call for Nominations

This is the formal call for nominations for the Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Electrochemistry Group for 2018.

The Faraday Medal is currently awarded annually by the Electrochemistry Group of the RSC to an electrochemist working outside the UK and Ireland in recognition of their outstanding original contributions and innovation as a mid-career researcher in any field of electrochemistry.

Detailed information about the award, nomination procedure and required material can be found on the award page of the RSC’s website. You will also find a list of notable past medalists that include many ECS members.

Nominations should be directed to the Group Secretary, Dr. Mark Symes, via email. The nomination deadline is 17:00 GMT on January 31, 2018.

Matt Murbach

Matthew Murbach, co-founder of Battery Informatics, Inc.

Matthew Murbach, founding president of the ECS student chapter at the University of Washington (UW) and motivating force behind the launch of the ECS Data Sciences Hack Day, has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the area of energy. According to Forbes, Murbach was recognized for his work “to commercialize battery management breakthroughs to enable faster charging, finer control over degradation and longer lifetimes.”

Murbach is co-founder of Battery Informatics, Inc. and a PhD student in chemical engineering at the University of Washington. Murbach’s PhD research is exploring new ways to diagnose the state of health in batteries, a critical and expensive asset in the emerging low carbon energy economy.

Battery Informatics is a next-generation battery management company focused on capturing the maximum value of energy storage through software solutions. The company is licensing UW intellectual property to extract the maximum value from these battery assets over the whole battery lifecycle. Just this month, they are flipping the switch on their first customer installation.

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By: Kevin Elliott, Michigan State University

Scientists these days face a conundrum. As Americans are buffeted by accounts of fake news, alternative facts and deceptive social media campaigns, how can researchers and their scientific expertise contribute meaningfully to the conversation?

There is a common perception that science is a matter of hard facts and that it can and should remain insulated from the social and political interests that permeate the rest of society. Nevertheless, many historians, philosophers and sociologists who study the practice of science have come to the conclusion that trying to kick values out of science risks throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Ethical and social values – like the desire to promote economic development, public health or environmental protection – often play integral roles in scientific research. By acknowledging this, scientists might seem to give away their authority as a defense against the flood of misleading, inaccurate information that surrounds us. But I argue in my book “A Tapestry of Values: An Introduction to Values in Science” that if scientists take appropriate steps to manage and communicate about their values, they can promote a more realistic view of science as both value-laden and reliable.

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