Remembering Stanford R. Ovshinsky, Energy Visionary

Stan Ovshinsky on his 2008 visit to Berkeley. (Photo by Jim Block.)
Stan Ovshinsky on his 2008 visit to Berkeley. (Photo by Jim Block.)

Stanford R. Ovshinsky (1922-2012)

 

Stanford R. Ovshinsky (1922–2012) was described as “the Edison of our age” by The Economist, and called the modern world's most important energy visionary. A paradigm-shifting self-taught physicist and materials science expert, he challenged the orthodoxy of transistors as only crystal-based with his work on amorphous materials, and helped pave the way for technologies as diverse as thin-film solar panels and optical data storage devices. Determined to improve society as well as technology, he worked tirelessly to promote renewable energy, having first promoted the "hydrogen cycle" as an alternative to fossil fuels in the 1950s.

Stan Ovshinsky has a long history with the UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies. He was invited by CLAS to speak at Berkeley in 2008, and he hosted Latin American visitors at his factory in Michigan to promote the spread of renewable energy in the region. He also traveled with CLAS Chair Harley Shaiken to Chile in 2009, and at that point strongly pushed for the development of the vast solar potential of the Atacama Desert that is now beginning to bear fruit. 

From Scientific American
"The Most Important Inventor You've Never Heard Of," by Lillian Hoddeson and Peter Garrett. Professors Hoddeson and Garrett's new book, "The Man Who Saw Tomorrow: The Life and Inventions of Stanford R. Ovshinsky," is the basis of their talk for CLAS on September 20, 2018. More on the event

Harley Shaiken with Ricardo Lagos and Stan Ovshinsky at Ovshinsky's plant in Michigan.

Harley Shaiken with Ricardo Lagos and Stan Ovshinsky at Ovshinsky's plant in Michigan in 2009.

 

More about Stan Ovshinsky, his work, and his relationship with CLAS 

"The Road to the Sun" - a short documentary film about Ovshinsky, Latin America, and the solar powered hydrogen cycle

Stan Ovshinsky speaks on "Alternative Energy and the Americas" for CLAS at UC Berkeley, April 2008

Stan and Iris Ovshinsky as they work on the hydrogen cycle in the 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Stanford R. Ovshinsky.)
Stan and Iris Ovshinsky as they work on the hydrogen cycle in the 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Stanford R. Ovshinsky.)

Stan Ovshinsky shows his thin-film solar panel as he speaks at UC Berkeley, April 2008. (Photo by Jim Block.)
Stan Ovshinsky shows his thin-film solar panel as he speaks at UC Berkeley, April 2008. (Photo by Jim Block.)

Stan and Rosa Ovshinsky visit Chile's El Paranal observatory in 2009.

Stan and Rosa Ovshinsky visit Chile's El Paranal observatory in the Atacama Desert in 2009.

Stan Ovshinsky working in his lab in the 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Stanford R. Ovshinsky.)

Stan Ovshinsky working in his lab in the 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Stanford R. Ovshinsky.)

 

From Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies, Spring 2009
"Latin America Should Bet on Energy," by Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile (2000–06)

From Berkeley Review, Fall 2008
"The Einstein of Alternative Energy?" by Harley Shaiken
On Stan Ovshinsky, by Arthur Bienenstock, President of the American Physical Society

From Berkeley Review, Spring 2008
"A Revolution Fueled by the Sun," by Avery Cohen