BSA Distinguished Lecture Thursday, 9/15: Solar-Driven Water Splitting

Harry Gray enlarge

Harry Gray, founding director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology

Harry Gray, founding director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology, will present a BSA Distinguished Lecture at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory on Thursday, Sept. 15. Gray's talk, titled "Solar-Driven Water Splitting," will be held in Berkner Hall at 4 p.m.

Energy usage is ever increasing worldwide. While the sun is a boundless source of clean energy, its power can only be collected during daylight hours. Among the solutions being developed to make the most of the power available as the sun shines, researchers are designing solar-driven molecular machines to store solar energy with hydrogen atoms split from oxygen in water. That hydrogen has emerged as an attractive candidate to produce the usable, alternative liquid fuel methanol to help meet the world's energy demands.

During his lecture, Gray will explain how he and other researchers are investigating the structures and mechanisms of hydrogen-evolving catalysts made from elements abundant on Earth—including cobalt, iron, and nickel—for those solar-driven molecular machines. He will also discuss research involving laser pulses to synthesize catalysts from water, as well as a "Solar Army" with hundreds of students recruited to discover new materials for producing solar fuels.

About the Speaker

Harry Gray is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and founding director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology. After graduate work in inorganic chemistry at Northwestern University and postdoctoral research at the University of Copenhagen, he joined the chemistry faculty at Columbia University, where he investigated inorganic electronic structures and reactions in the early 1960s. He joined Caltech in 1966.

Among other honors, Gray has received the National Medal of Science in 1986, six national awards from the American Chemical Society, and 19 honorary doctorates. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Philosophical Society. He is a foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Royal Society of Great Britain; and Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

About BSA Distinguished Lectures

BSA Distinguished Lectures are sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates, the company that manages Brookhaven Lab, to present topics of general interest to the Laboratory community and the public. These lectures are free and open to the public. All visitors to the Laboratory 16 and older must bring a photo ID.

This lecture is scheduled to be webcast live and archived online at

The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway, one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway.

For more information, call (631) 344-2345.

2016-11869  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom