Plenary Session

The Chemistry of Motion Plenary

Sunday, September 8, 2013, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.


Dr. Naomi J. Halas

Dr. Naomi J. Halas

Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy
Director, Laboratory for Nanophotonics
Rice University

Solar Steam: Discovery, mechanism, and applications in energy reveals that light-absorbing nanoparticles dispersed in water are capable of generating steam at remarkably high efficiency, and challenges our traditional understanding of how these processes work. By studying at the individual nanoparticle level, the Halas research group observes temperature increases at the nanoparticle surface as the vapor bubble is generated. For nanoparticles dispersed in an isotropic medium, nanoparticle-bubble complexes achieve buoyancy, creating light-driven nonthermal gradients in the fluid as steam is produced. With the light-absorbing nanoparticles dispersed in a fluid mixture, a solar distillation process, strongly favoring the more volatile components is achieved. Both nanoparticle-enabled solar steam and solar distillation are processes lend themselves quite naturally to applications in energy, with a focus on compact and off-grid solutions for a variety of future energy challenges.

Bio: Naomi J. Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University, where she also holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, and Bioengineering. Her PhD research was performed with Daniel Grischkowsky at IBM Yorktown in the area of ultrafast nonlinear optics and dark soliton generation, where she also worked on the first terahertz time-domain spectroscopy efforts, also reported by the IBM group.

Dr. Halas joined Rice University following her postdoctoral fellowship at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where she studied time-resolved photoemission spectroscopy on semiconductor surfaces. She is the author of more than 200 refereed publications, has more than 15 issued and pending patents, and has presented more than 300 invited talks. She is best known scientifically in the field of plasmonics as the inventor of tunable nanoparticles with resonances that span the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum, studying their properties and pursuing applications in biomedicine, chemical sensing, and energy.

Dr. Halas is co-founder of Nanospectra Biosciences, Inc., a company currently commercializing a photothermal cancer therapy based on her nanoparticles. She is founder and Director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) at Rice, which supports collaborations and interactions among researchers at Rice and other institutions nationally and internationally in the field of Plasmon-based optics and applications. She is the Principal Investigator of an NSF-funded integrative graduate education and research training grant (IGERT) in Nanophotonics, the first such graduate training program in the U.S.

Dr. Halas has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a Fellow of five professional societies: the Optical Society, the American Physical Society, the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is a member of the advisory board for the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, and she is a National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow of the U.S. Department of Defense. She is also Visiting Professor at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, was chair of the 2010 Plasmonics Gordon Research Conference, is a member of the Editorial Advisor Board of Laser and Photonics Reviews and an Associate Editor of Nano Letters.


Daniel R. Kittle

Daniel R. Kittle

Vice President, Research and Development (R&D)
Dow AgroSciences, LLD

From lab bench to table top – science serving the needs of a growing world will explore the progress, impact, and future needs of agrichemical innovation as we continue to stave off world-wide famine through long-term sustainable solutions. For centuries, thought leaders have predicted disastrous results when the Earth's growing population and dwindling resources together reach critical mass. As early as 1798, British scholar Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population on the premise that the planet has a finite capability to support the human race, and the inevitable outcome will be the demise of human society, broad famine, and war that “with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world.” Just 45 years ago, Paul Ehrlich's bestselling book The Population Bomb stated that the limits of the planet's resources had finally been reached and “the battle to feed all of humanity is over,” warning that mass starvation and famine were imminent. In 2013, more than 200 years since Malthus' proclamation, the global population has grown exponentially from approximately 1 billion to 7 billion, but we've averted the prognostications of widespread shortages of meat, vegetables, and grains by undergoing a massive transformation in agricultural technologies that has increased both the quantity and quality of food production. Over the next few decades, the challenges to the agricultural industry will multiply, as we now must target dramatic new breakthroughs to provide nutritious and plentiful food for 9 billion people on fewer arable acres, using less available water, and leaving a smaller environmental footprint.

Bio: Dan Kittle is vice president, Research and Development (R&D), Dow AgroSciences. He was named to this position in August 2000. Kittle joined Eli Lilly and Company in 1981 as a Plant Science representative for the field research station in Mansfield, Illinois. During the next 10 years, Kittle held several positions across the R&D function within Lilly. With the formation of DowElanco in 1989, Kittle became global manager of Weed Management Discovery Research. Through the end of 1999, he was the global R&D leader for the Weed Management Global Business Unit.

Kittle received a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. He received a master of science degree and doctorate degree in plant pathology from the University of Illinois. Kittle did post-doctorate work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service Consortium of Integrated Pest Management.


Bret E. Huff

Bret E. Huff

Vice President, Small Molecule Design & Development
Eli Lilly and Company

Continuous processing in the pharmaceutical industry examines how the use of continuous processing in the pharmaceutical industry has increased dramatically over the past few years. The development of continuous processes demands the collaboration of a highly multi-disciplinary team of chemists, engineers, analytical chemists, modelers, automation engineers, and others. Additionally, the continuous platform provides an opportunity for all disciplines to develop new technologies and technology applications.

Bio: Dr. Huff received his undergraduate degree in chemistry in 1984 from California State University, Chico. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1989. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University from 1989 to 1991. In 1991, he joined Eli Lilly and Company as a senior organic chemist in Chemical Process R&D. He was promoted to Research Scientist in 1995 and Senior Research Scientist in 1998. Later that year, Dr. Huff joined Discovery Chemistry Research as a Director. In 2000, he accepted the position of Director, Chemical Process Research at Lilly, Mont-St-Guibert, Belgium. In 2002 he returned to the US as Senior Director of the Chemical Process Commercialization group at the Tippecanoe manufacturing site. Two years later, he assumed responsibility for the API Operations group in Chemical Product R&D and in 2005 was promoted to Vice President, Chemical Product R&D, with responsibility for all phases of API process development. In September of 2012, three areas of product R&D—pharmaceutical sciences R&D, chemical product R&D, and analytical sciences R&D—were consolidated into the Small Molecule Design & Development group that Dr. Huff currently leads.


The Chemistry of Racing

Monday, September 9, 2013, 9:00 AM – Noon; 1:30 – 2:20 PM

A modern-day race car at the Indianapolis 500 is a marvel of chemistry, technology, and engineering. From the light-weight carbon fibers and Kevlar-composites used in the chassis, to the thin, treadles tires that provide a glue-like grip at temperatures of over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, there are numerous high-tech materials a race car driver uses to win the Indy 500 – all while traveling the length of a football field every second! Join 7-time Indy 500 veteran, Stephan Gregoire in the morning session, as he gives a fascinating look from inside the cockpit at innovations in materials chemistry that allow these highly specialized vehicles to compete at speeds over 225 mph. The Chemistry of Racing symposium also discusses how racing on the Speedway is becoming greener with high-performance engines using biodiesel fuels and supercar performance is being achieved with electrochemical reactions in the next-generation Lithium batteries. The afternoon session brings research back to the raceway with a look at how chemistry relates to high-performance asphalt, tires, and fuels.

Stephan Gregoire is a retired race car driver from France who currently lives in Carmel, Indiana. The warm welcome that he received in Indianapolis was the reason he stayed. A seven-time Indianapolis 500 competitor who last raced in the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing second in the GT1 class, Stephan claims that his first Indy 500 race was his most memorable moment in racing. He made 46 Indy Racing League starts. Currently, he and his business partner, Ted Woerner, have develop special driving programs at the Speedway through MilesAhead Racing.

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