UT Energy Symposium
The UT Energy Symposium has been a fixture on campus for six years, bringing together distinguished faculty, researchers, and policy makers from across campus and beyond. In weekly lectures, speakers explore the multifaceted dimensions of the energy field, providing interdisciplinary insights across a broad range of expertise.
Lectures include traditional areas of energy, such as climate science and distribution infrastructure. Earlier this semester, David Zavala-Araiza from the Environmental Defense Fund presented an in-depth look at carbon emission estimation, particularly from super-emitters in natural gas and oil production. Other diverse fields are also highlighted for their unique intersections with energy policy: Michael Legatt, the CEO of ResilientGrid, spoke at length about how his background in neuropsychology influences how he approaches building better technical systems to respond to human error.
The UT Energy Symposium is offered as a lecture series open to all, bringing in crowds from across campus and the Austin area. It is also offered as credit course for all undergraduate and graduate students. Designed as an interdisciplinary forum, the Symposium convenes students from all fields who are interested in sustainable energy.
The program was initially started by Dr. Varun Rai, a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and is currently led by Drs. Fred Beach and Carey King. A recent lecture from Rai focused specifically on the value of crafting interdisciplinary approaches to science, encapsulating the mission of the Energy Symposium. Rai pushed beyond the idea that interdisciplinary science is good because it simply is, or is in vogue to do so—interdisciplinary science should provide real value as a problem-solving strategy that pushes the boundaries of more than one field.
It’s a tall order, but the UT Energy Symposium has a bright future ahead of it as a unique space on campus for students and experts from a variety of fields to solve complex problems.
For those interested in attending, weekly lectures are held Thursdays 5:15 to 6 pm in the Avaya Auditorium in POB and past recordings can be viewed on the UT Energy Institute website