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Liu Lecture: Steven Dubowsky, Clean Water Purification: Searching for a Technically and Financially Feasible Pathway to Providing Clean Water Using Clean Energy to Meet the Needs of People of the Developing World

February 26, 2019 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Building 550, 1st floor in the Atrium

Open to the public. No RSVP needed.

Building 550 is a handicap accessible building. Please contact admin Renée Chao for further details on handicap parking.

Join us for Liu Lecture with speaker Steven Dubowsky, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lecture Title: Clean Water Purification: Searching for a Technically and Financially Feasible Pathway to Providing Clean Water Using Clean Energy to Meet the Needs of People of the Developing World

Abstract: For nearly 45 years Professor Dubowsky, his colleagues and students in the MIT Field and Space Robotics Laboratory (The FSRL) has been addressing important engineering problems by combining control theory, system modeling, design algorithms, and experimental studies. A prospective sponsor came to MIT with substantial funds for 7-year program, but without any technical objective in mind. A group of faculties rose to the challenge and proposed to address the largely independent problems of clean energy and clean water. My group (the FSRL) took of the problem optimally designing, controlling and operating the highly nonlinear problems of water purification powered by photovoltaics in uncertain conditions and environments. An adventure started when field trials of prototypes in the jungles in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico showed the technical and economic potential. Since it is beyond the scope of a university to produce systems for communities and people that needed them, the commercialization of the technology this seemed like a place for a startup. Also, at this time, venture funds and investors were promulgating the notion of “impact investing”- investing in enterprises with both a financial promise and with important social impact.

Bio: Professor Dubowsky spent the first 8 years of his career designing scientific instruments and optical systems in industry for the DOD while studying for his PhD from Columbia University. He then joined the faculty at UCLA for 10 years until he moved MIT with a joint appointment in the Mechanical Engineering and of Aeronautics and Astronautics departments for the last 34 years of his academic career where he was the Director of the MIT Field and Space Robotics Laboratory. Much of his teaching and research has focused on robotic systems and medical devices and systems. Professor Dubowsky authored, or co-authored, with his students, nearly 350 papers. His research contributions have included; the adaptive and optimal control of robots, modeling of flexible manipulators, autonomous control of high-speed vehicle in rough terrain, fuel cell power for field robotic systems, energy/clean water systems for challenging field environments and medical robotic devices for the elderly, as surgery in closed bore MRIs, and for the treatment of Parkinson’s patents. Dr. Dubowsky has served as an advisor and consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Science/Engineering, the Department of Energy, the US Army, NASA, ESA and industry. He is a Life Fellow of both the ASME and IEEE. Since retiring from MIT in 2015, Dr. Dubowsky has focused his energy on co-founding, and being the Chief Technical Officer of a startup company, PV Pure Inc. in Cambridge, MA.

The David H. Liu Memorial Lecture Series in Design at Stanford brings together incredible minds from a wide variety of disciplines to explore the intersection of design, technology, art, architecture and science. This lecture series is made possible by the generous support of Dr. and Mrs. Liu in memory of their son, David, a former graduate student in the Stanford Graduate Design Program. 

Event Sponsor: 
The David H. Liu Memorial Lecture Series, Stanford Design Program
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