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Facing Our Energy Challenges in a New Era of Science

Speaker: Patricia M. Dehmer, Department of Energy

Location: University of Chicago Harper Center, Room 219

Patricia M. Dehmer is the Deputy Director for Science Programs in the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In this capacity, she is the senior career science official in the Office of Science, the third largest federal sponsor of basic research in the United States and the primary supporter of the physical sciences in the U.S.

As Deputy Director for Science Programs, Dr. Dehmer provides scientific and management oversight for the six science programs of the Office of Science (basic energy sciences, biological and environmental research, fusion energy sciences, advanced scientific computing research, high energy physics, and nuclear physics), for workforce development for teachers and scientists, and for construction project assessment. The Office of Science supports research at 300 colleges and universities nationwide, at DOE laboratories, and at other private institutions.

From 1995 to 2007, Dr. Dehmer served as the Director of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) in the Office of Science. Under her leadership, the BES budget more than doubled in size to $1.2B annually. She built a world-leading portfolio of work in condensed matter and materials physics, chemistry, and biosciences. A five-year effort to relate fundamental research in these disciplines to real-world problems in energy – including problems in fossil energy and carbon dioxide sequestration, nuclear energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy transmission and storage, and the mitigation of environmental impacts of energy use – facilitated greater integration of basic and applied research across DOE.

During this period, Dr. Dehmer also was responsible for the planning, design, and construction phases of more than a dozen major construction projects totaling $3 billion. Notable among these were the $1.4 B Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, five Nanoscale Science Research Centers totaling more than $300M, the total reconstruction of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC), and the start of two new facilities for x-ray scattering – the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC, which is the world’s first hard x-ray free electron laser, and the National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which will provide the highest spatial resolution of any synchrotron light source in the world.