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Sustainable energy without the hot air

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Fabien Petitcolas.

Abstract: What do the fundamental limits of physics say about sustainable energy? The British Isles, we often hear, have `huge` renewable resources – but we need to know how this `huge` source compares with another `huge`: our huge power consumption. The public discussion of energy policy needs numbers, not adjectives. Assuming no economic constraints, assuming we cover the country with windmills and the coast with wave-machines, every roof with solar panels and every field with energy crops, could Britain get enough power from renewables to continue with our current consumption?

Biography: David MacKay is a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge. He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge then obtained his PhD in Computation and Neural Systems at the California Institute of Technology. He is internationally known for his research in machine learning, information theory, and communication systems, including the invention of Dasher, a software interface that enables efficient communication in any language with any muscle. He has taught Physics in Cambridge since 1995. Since 2005, he has devoted increasing amounts of time to public teaching about energy. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Climate Change.

This talk is part of the Microsoft Research Summer School series.

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