2011 T. T. Chao Symposium on Innovation

    Yuan Lee, recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, describes how his groundbreaking work in chemistry led to his current research focus in energy with CHF’s president and CEO Thomas R. Tritton.

    A moderated discussion between prominent, award-winning scientists and students, teachers, and principals from Greater Houston high schools.

    Emil Jacobs of ExxonMobil and J. Craig Venter of Synthetic Genomics discuss their alliance to research and develop biofuels from photosynthetic algae with CHF’s Thomas R. Tritton.

     

    CHF’s annual T. T. Chao Symposium celebrates and encourages innovation in the Houston region. All three sessions of the 2011 symposium focused on alternatives in energy.

    • A Conversation with Yuan Lee
      Yuan Lee, recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, described how his groundbreaking work in chemistry led to his current research focus in energy with CHF’s president and CEO Thomas R. Tritton.
    • Student-Laureate Forum
      A moderated discussion between prominent, award-winning scientists and students, teachers, and principals from Greater Houston high schools.
    • A Conversation with Emil Jacobs and J. Craig Venter
      Emil Jacobs of ExxonMobil and J. Craig Venter of Synthetic Genomics discussed their alliance to research and develop biofuels from photosynthetic algae with CHF’s Thomas R. Tritton.

    See Tom Tritton’s blog post, “Oil from Pond Scum,” for reflections on the 2011 Chao Symposium.

    Speaker Biographies

    Emil Jacobs

    Emil Jacobs is vice president of research and development of the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, a position he has held since 2002. Jacobs joined the firm in 1978 as a research engineer. In 1999 he was named global vice president of basic chemicals and intermediate technology, and he was heavily involved in the Exxon/Mobil merger transition team.

    Jacobs is a member of the Chemical Engineering Advisory Council at Princeton University, the Advisory Board of the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, the Industrial Research Institute, and the Research and Development Council of New Jersey. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineering. Jacobs has a B.S. in chemical engineering from Rice University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University.

    Yuan Lee

    Yuan Lee is the president of the International Council for Science, president emeritus and distinguished research fellow at Academica Sinica, and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1986 Lee received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his seminal contribution to the development of reaction dynamics — a new field of research at the time.

    During his career Lee has received numerous awards, including the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Faraday Medal and Prize from the Royal Chemical Society of Great Britain, and the Othmer Gold Medal from the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Among his other honors, Lee is or has been a Sloan fellow, a Dreyfus scholar, and a Guggenheim fellow, as well as a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a member of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. Lee received a B.S. from the National Taiwan University, an M.S. from Tsinghua University, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has received honorary doctorates from 37 universities around the world.

    Nathan Lewis

    Nathan Lewis, professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology since 1991, is now serving as principal investigator for both the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, the Department of Energy’s Energy Innovation Hub in Fuels from Sunlight, and the Beckman Institute Molecular Materials Resource Center. His research interests include artificial photosynthesis and electronic noses. Technical details of these research topics focus on light-induced electron-transfer reactions, both at surfaces and in transition metal complexes, and development of sensor arrays that use pattern-recognition algorithms to identify odorants, mimicking the mammalian olfaction process.

    Lewis has published over 300 papers, is editor-in-chief of the journal Energy & Environmental Science, and has supervised over 60 graduate students and postdoctoral associates. His awards include the Princeton Environmental Award and the Michael Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Electrochemistry. In 2009 Rolling Stone magazine listed him as number 17 in its top 100 Agents of Change in America. Lewis received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Andrew Revkin

    Andrew Revkin has reported on the science and politics of global warming for more than 20 years, from the North Pole to the White House and the tumultuous treaty talks in Copenhagen. After 15 years at The New York Times, Revkin recently left his staff position to become the senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University's Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. Building on a quarter century of prize-winning print work, he now writes the Dot Earth blog for the op-ed pages of The New York Times, creating an online forum where hundreds of thousands of readers meet each month to evaluate and discuss climate, biodiversity, population, and related subjects.

    Revkin is the author of three books on environmental subjects in addition to countless newspaper and magazine articles. He has received journalism awards from numerous organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Columbia University and has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Pace University and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

    Thomas R. Tritton

    Thomas R. Tritton is the second president of CHF. He was the twelfth president of Haverford College. A cancer chemotherapy research expert with over 150 publications, Tritton’s work was continuously funded by the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health.

    Before he became president of Haverford, Tritton was a professor of pharmacology for twelve years each at Yale University and the University of Vermont. At the University of Vermont he also served as deputy director of the Vermont Cancer Center—a designated comprehensive cancer center of the National Cancer Institute—and as vice provost of the university. In 2007, before assuming the CHF presidency, Tritton was “president in residence” at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He holds a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. from Boston University.

    J. Craig Venter

    J. Craig Venter is founder, chairman, and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit research organization dedicated to human, microbial, plant, synthetic and environmental genomic research and the exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics. Venter is also founder and CEO of Synthetic Genomics Inc.

    After earning both a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego, Venter was appointed professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In 1984 he moved to the National Institutes of Health, where he developed expressed sequence tags or ESTs, a revolutionary strategy for rapid gene discovery. In 1992 Venter founded The Institute for Genomic Research, where in 1995 he and his team decoded the genome of the first free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae. In 1998 he founded Celera Genomics to sequence the human genome using new tools and techniques he and his team developed. This research culminated with the February 2001 publication of the human genome in the journal Science.