George Whitesides is a chemist with a knack for translating lab discoveries into things the world finds useful. He has cofounded numerous companies, including the biotech giant Genzyme.
TR: What are our options for cutting down on carbon emissions while meeting our vast energy needs?
GW: If the only issue were supply, we could burn a lot of coal and build lots of nuclear plants, and at least in the United States, for the foreseeable future we could have a fair amount of [energy] supply. Because of climate changes, it's not just a question of producing energy. It's a question of producing energy in a way that we can live with in the long term.
If you look at the available pieces, from conservation to nuclear, solar, whatever, and you put them all together, we can't do it. We have to do something differently, and we have to come up with new ideas. This is not just an engineering problem of taking things that we know and applying them better.
From MIT's Technology Review