Science on Saturday lecture strikes a blow for wind energy

Feb. 14, 2011

Congressman Jerry McNerney (Download Image)

Science on Saturday lecture strikes a blow for wind energy

A reliable and abundant source of renewable energy for the future could be blowing in the wind.

This possibility was the topic of, "It's Gust About Time: Harnessing the Wind for Our Future Energy Needs," by Lab scientists Jeff Mirocha and Sonia Wharton, and teacher Christine Tyler. The lecture was the second in the 2011 Science on Saturday lecture series, held last week.

The presenters discussed why the wind blows, where it blows best and how energy can be generated from the wind. A total of more than 1,000 students, teachers and community members attended the two sessions in the Bankhead Theatre in Livermore.

Congressman Jerry McNerney, a former wind energy engineer and Sandia employee, welcomed the audience by opening with a quick summary of how far wind technology has come since he started working on windmills in the 1980s. McNerney joked about how the windmills "often fell apart" soon after they were turned on. But engineers and scientists "stuck with it," he said, and now wind energy is booming.

"That's what so exciting about science," McNerney said. "There's always something new to discover. Science is where it is at."

McNerney welcomed the students in the packed theater, and then challenged aspiring scientists and engineers to "stick with it," because they are the future of technology.

Science on Saturday (SOS) is a series of free science lectures for middle and high school students. Each topic highlights cutting-edge science occurring at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The talks are presented by leading LLNL science researchers supported by master high school science teachers.

The next lecture in the series is Feb. 19: "Withstanding Climate Change: You Can Change the World," presented by Dean Williams, LLNL scientist; and teachers, Roger Johnson and Tiffany Burkel. For more information, go to the Science on Saturday Website.