Posted by David Martin

AW Centenary Speech

20th April 2015 would have been Dr Alvin Weinberg’s 100th birthday, and so the Foundation was delighted to host a special event at Imperial College London to commemorate Dr Weinberg’s centenary and to discuss the future of advanced clean energy technology like Molten Salt Reactors.

The Foundation was thrilled and honoured when Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, kindly agreed to speak at the special centenary event. Like Dr Weinberg, Lord Rees has long been concerned by technology’s long-term and unintended consequences, and he is a renowned advocate of clean energy R&D to fight climate change.

The event was packed, the air crackling with good ideas as leading scientists, entrepreneurs, students and members of the public from around the world discussed the future of clean energy.

Lord Rees’s speech, “Science, technology, 21st century energy and the future of nuclear power” was a magnificent tribute to the work of Dr Weinberg and a powerful call for a concerted efforts to accelerate the research and development of advanced clean energy.

Lord Rees emphasised the vital importance of R&D in the fight against climate change, saying, “The energy challenge deserves a commitment akin to the Manhattan project or the Apollo moon landing…Why shouldn’t energy R&D be on the same level as medical R&D?”

We are delighted to present the full text of Lord Rees’s speech in a special booklet. To download your free copy, please click here.

Following Lord Rees’s speech we screened a clip from a new biopic about Dr Weinberg’s life. There was then a fascinating Q&A session, chaired by our Patron Baroness Worthington, featuring Professor Steve Cowley, CEO of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Professor Emeritus Wade Allison, author of Radiation and Reason, the Foundation’s new Chief Executive Stephen Tindale and outgoing CEO David Martin.

It was a fantastic event. Thank you to all the speakers and attendees for making it such a great commemoration of Dr Weinberg’s legacy. Together, we can make a clean energy future a reality.

To download a booklet of Lord Rees’s speech, please click here.

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The Alvin Weinberg Foundation has played a really vital role in helping to promote research into next-generation nuclear power systems and fuel cycles, including work to assess the potential role of thorium in the energy mix.

— UK National Nuclear Laboratory


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