PICMET '23 Keynotes


"The Physics of Climate Change"

Bulent Atalay, University of Mary Washington and UVA, Fredericksburg, USA

Energy is the lifeblood of Civilization

This is a lecture with many legs and is based on a graduate course entitled, “Future Alternate Sources of Energy,” taught for nearly two decades by Bulent Atalay at the University of Virginia. The two inseparable aspects of energy are its production and its consumption, and both aspects are ultimately explained by physics and chemistry. Both aspects can have devastating consequences on our planet and these effects must be minimized. The atmosphere is a fine mist, a breathable gaseous blanket overlying the earth. Five-to-nine miles in thickness, it is infinitesimal compared with the 4,000 miles (6400 km) radius of the planet. For the preservation of life on earth, this fragile blanket must be preserved. A maxim gaining popularity globally reads, “There is no planet B!” The underlying physics is not difficult compared with the fundamental physical laws of quantum mechanics and relativity. But it is a messy sort of science, involving mathematical models, and large-number crunching. It creates polarizing domestic and international politics between the owners and the buyers of fossil fuels. And it pits believers of man-made climate change against its deniers. In this discussion of limited length, we will take inventory of many of those “legs” but focus on just two of them: the rudiments of the physics of climate change along with one source of energy production that is clean, virtually inexhaustible, resistant to catastrophic accidents, within reach, but hitherto unattained.

Bulent Atalay

Bulent Atalay — scientist, artist, author, and lecturer — has been described by NPR, PBS, and the Washington Post as a “Modern Renaissance Man.” He is the author of two successful books on the intersection of art, science, and mathematics, where Leonardo, the pre-eminent Renaissance man, serves as the focal point. His best-selling book, "Math and the Mona Lisa," (Smithsonian Books, 2004) has appeared in 14 languages; and Leonardo's Universe (National Geographic Books, 2009) has appeared in English and Japanese, and was declared, “One of ten must-have books,” by the Britannica. Bulent’s academic background is in theoretical physics, distilled from work at Georgetown, UCal - Berkeley, Princeton, Oxford, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He travels around the world lecturing at academic institutions and on cruise ships on the "A-subjects," art, archaeology, astrophysics, atomic physics, and Ataturk, confessing that he knows much less about the "B-subjects," business, banking, biology, and botany... He recently put the finishing touches on “Beyond Genius,” a new book that examines the internal and external factors which produced Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Albert Einstein, a pair of pure artists, a pair of pure scientists, and a scientist-artist who straddles the cultures of both. Atalay has given lectures at Caltech, Princeton, Duke, Yale, Harvard, Oxford, NASA, NIST, NIH, Smithsonian, and the National Geographic Society, as well as keynote talks at PICMET ’05, ’10, ’12, ’14, ’16, ’17, and ’19. His website appears at www.bulentatalay.com






"Elements of a Theory of Technology"

Hon. Prof. Dr. Rainer P. Hasenauer, Marketing of High­Tech Innovation and Technology Marketing, WU Vienna, Austria

The saying of Karl Popper “Our Life is Problem Solving” opens the discussion to search for a fundamental Theory of Technology. Bio-Life is determined for long survival. Survival requires stability and to overcome unknown and unexpected perturbances by activating the bio-system’s self-defense controlled by the Law of Requisite Variety (W.R.Ashby) and Minimal Dead Time (Control Theory) in the feedback loop.

The challenge of lifelong problem-solving lies in the information gap of problem cause and effect. Problem might be unexpected, surprising, never encountered and seemingly not solvable. Technology offers possible ability for problem solving.

Solution quality depends on available information about assumed causes and effects, situational constraints, and the inherent contextual dynamics, often unobservable, thus unmeasurable.

A possible strategy for a generic theory of technology is the mapping of the three layers of dual theory scheme (W.Leinfellner, 1965 ) to decompose the problem.

A valid solution of a given problem shows a high degree of structural affinity and consistency with situational constraints.

Observational and measurement language must support valid information. Presumed lack of knowledge is called nescience = absence of causality knowledge, indicators for nescience are orienting signals for better solution quality.

Dr. Rainer Hasenauer

Dr. Rainer Hasenauer is Honorary Professor of Marketing and Lecturer in Marketing of High­Tech Innovation and Technology Marketing (WU Vienna), Entrepreneur, Business Developer and Researcher focusing on innovative technologies. He is the co-founder of HiTec Marketing Research Association in Vienna (www.hitec.at ) and Cross Border HiTec Center (www.hitechcentrum.eu ). Dr. Hasenauer is on the Advisory Boards of hightech investment groups, Expert Board of a leading hightech startup incubator, the Supervisory Board of a global market leader in the field of safety-critical real-time communication systems, an Invited Expert in industrial innovation expert group, and an Innovation Expert for public innovation policy.






"Applying Digital Technologies to Manage Climate Change"

John R. McDougall, PICMET Fellow, CEO, SynBioBlox Innovations Ltd and Former President, National Research Council, Canada

A sustainable world is a world in balance with itself. As humans, should work seriously not to disrupt this balance. Levels of production, consumption, waste, and emissions all need to become synergistically integrated – designed, manufactured, managed, and recycled in a manner that maintains a global balance. The major question is not if we should transform our activities in this way, but rather how to do so in a manner that is feasible, both technologically and economically; and comprehensive. Food, water, energy, the basics of life, are important aspects to consider. But infrastructure, building materials and consumer products must also be incorporated.

Circularity is a “whole system” concept for addressing issues and challenges associated with waste – especially carbon-based waste materials such as GHGs and plastics, and toxic materials associated with resource production and transformation. That means dealing with waste materials emitted through stacks and exhausts to the atmosphere, and single use waste materials that currently tend to be discarded rather than collected – by finding ways to collect and repurpose them for reprocessing and/or reuse.

This presentation will explore how biomimicry provides a framework for helping this to occur.

John R. McDougall

John R. McDougall is currently CEO of SynBioBlox Innovations Ltd. and of the Bio-Conversion Databank Foundation. He has 50 years of experience in 75 countries in the natural resource, IT, manufacturing, consulting, real estate and investment industries as well as research and development and academia. He retired from Canada’s National Research Council after six years as President, a position he accepted after 12 years as CEO of the Alberta Research Council. He was the inaugural Chair in Management for Engineers at the University of Alberta from 1991-97, and he initiated Innoventures Canada Inc. in 2006 to bring together Canada’s leading research and technology organizations providing technology development, demonstration and deployment services as centers of excellence for commercialization and research.

In the private sector, after eight years with a multinational, he managed and founded firms in real estate, investment and development, frontier exploration and logistics, project management, technology development, economics and economic development, financial and business planning, data processing and custom software development and natural gas brokerage. He has also served as an outside director or advisor to several public and private firms.

John is an active volunteer in business, professional and not-for-profit organizations where holding leadership positions in local, national and international organizations such as The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and World Trade Centre, Capital Care Foundation, Engineers Canada, St. John’s Ambulance, Eureka and the G8 Heads of Research Organizations. He has also served on dozens of academic and government committees and agencies.

He has received medals and recognition including the 2015 PICMET award for Leadership in Technology Management, Honorary membership in the Mexican College of Civil Engineers and the Queen’s Gold and Platinum Jubilee Medals.



"How Should We Develop Technology Products?"

Dr. Nam P. Suh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA - U.S.A.

Some major products fail unexpectedly in service. Well-publicized examples include the failures of commercial airplanes, automobiles, nuclear power plants, etc. Also, many managers and technologists know that the development cost of many products can exceed the original estimates because of unexpected events. How can we improve the design process to eliminate or minimize these unanticipated failures and events? To enhance the performance of any product, we should eliminate the ad hoc trial and error processes. This paper shows how we can improve products' reliability and performance by applying fundamental design principles. In this presentation, it will be shown that the power of rational design thinking processes in product and process development can reduce unanticipated failures. Case studies will be presented.

Dr. Nam P. Suh

Professor Nam Pyo Suh is the Cross Professor Emeritus at MIT and was the 13th and 14th President of KAIST.

Professor Suh has spent most of his teaching career at MIT. In 2016, MIT established the Nam Pyo Suh Professorship in Mechanical Engineering with a significant endowment provided by an alumnus, Mr. Hock Tan, CEO of Broadcom, Inc.

Professor Suh was Head of Mechanical Engineering for ten years as well as Founding Director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity at MIT for eight years. Under his leadership, the Department of Mechanical Engineering transformed from a mechanical engineering department that had its disciplinary base in physics into a department that is based on physics, biology, information science, design, and materials. It was done to educate engineers who can deal with the critical issues of the 21st century.

Professor Suh assumed the presidency of KAIST in 2006. During his tenure (2006-2013) at KAIST, the worldwide ranking of the university improved the most among all research universities in the world. In 2016 and 2017, Reuter ranked KAIST as one of the top 10 world's most innovative universities, the only non-U.S. universities in the top 10 in 2016.

In 1984-1988, Dr. Suh was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to be Assistant Director for Engineering of the National Science Foundation.

He received many awards, including the 2009 ASME Medal, the 2006 General Pierre Nicolau Award of CIRP, the 2008 Pony Chung Award, the 2008 Inchon Education Award, the 1997 Ho-Am Prize for Engineering, the 2001 Mensforth International Gold Medal of IEE (U.K.), the 2001 Hills Millennium Award from IED (U.K.), and the 1988 Distinguished Service Award with Gold Medal of NSF.

He received ten honorary doctorate degrees from ten universities on four continents [U.S., Sweden, Israel, Australia, Portugal, Romania, Turkey]. He also received the Gold Medal of the Technical University of Denmark. His main publications are in the field of design, tribology, and manufacturing, including polymer processing.

He is a graduate of BB&N, MIT, and CMU. His education benefited from the extra-ordinary generosity of several people. Mr. Edwin H. B. Pratt, Headmaster of Browne and Nichols School, paid his freshman tuition at MIT without informing anyone. His employer, USM Corporation, entirely financed his Ph.D. education at CMU, including his full salary, tuition, and entire research cost. He is most grateful to Dr. Waler L. Abel.
























Phone: 1-503-725-3525
Fax: 1-503-725-4667
E-mail: info@picmet.org