Lauritsen Memorial Lecture: "Facing Hard Truths about Energy"Date: Tuesday October 23, 2007 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM Location: Beckman Auditorium - Find on Campus Map
Modern energy, consisting of petroleum products, natural gas and electricity, has underpinned the remarkable transition the world has enjoyed from a rural-based economic system to the globalized society we now enjoy. Throughout the 20th century, abundant supplies of modern energy at remarkably low prices, other than an occasional spike, created a false sense that we could live on cheap and abundant energy virtually forever.
The long era of cheap and plentiful energy is about over. The supply of oil (and probably natural gas) is now peaking and will soon likely begin to ebb. Unfortunately, the advent of this peaking comes as a large part of the world, including China, India and many other rapidly developing countries' thirst for energy is growing by leaps and bounds.
Mr. Simmons will address why he thinks the world's supply of oil and gas is now peaking, will lay out some stark choices the world faces as we are forced to wean ourselves from a genuine addiction to using fossil fuel energy, and will explain why far higher energy prices are a blessing, not a curse.
He will discuss the pending race between technology advances and decline rates from mature oil and gas fields and the struggle to fight rust in the very old infrastructure that allows 85 million barrels a day of oil and about 50 million barrels of oil equivalent natural gas to be used.
Matthew R. Simmons, chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International, is one of the world's leading experts on the topic of peak oil. Simmons was motivated by the 1973 energy crisis to create an investment banking firm focused on the oil service industry.
Simmons is an advisor to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, a member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations, and served as energy adviser to President George W. Bush. He is the author of the book Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.
The Lauritsen Memorial Lecture commemorates two former professors of physics at Caltech: Charles C. Lauritsen and Thomas Lauritsen. Together they served the Institute for more than 68 years, and their commitment to excellence played a significant role in Caltech's development and accomplishments.
Caltech's Division of Physics, Math, & Astronomy
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