IMAGE:  December 2003
 
LINK:  Also in every issue
Editor's Notes  
From the President  
Letters  
Chicagophile  
 
LINK:  Features
Zone of contention  
Life of the body  
Immersion theory  
Standing guard
Low pitch, high demand  

Baby pictures

 

LINK:  Class Notes
Alumni News  
Alumni Works  
Deaths  

LINK:  Campus News
Chicago Journal  
University News  
Uchicago.edu e-bulletin  

LINK:  Research
Investigations  
Coursework  
Citations  
Research at Chicago  
 
GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
 
 
DECEMBER 2003
Volume 96, Issue 2
 

GRAPHIC:  Also in every issueLETTERS
Upon what meat have you fed that you can…

Fueling the future

President Randel’s column, “How will the world meet its energy demands?” (October/03) is disappointing in two respects: factually and in terms of the future of energy research at the University.

Carbon dioxide need not be produced when using electricity from wind or sun to produce hydrogen (except in producing and installing the wind- or sun-power apparatus.) Nor would a hydrogen distribution system be necessary. Hydrogen generation can take place at the site of use in small quantities with low risk. The “necessary time scale” that worries Randel is relative to the size of the public subsidy of research and development. If hydrogen fuel cells combined with solar or wind generators received a serious fraction of the public subsidy now received by the fossil and nuclear-power industries, and their acolytes in academia, the time scale would not necessarily extend to the next decade. The technology is on the shelf and in production.

Walk down to the Jackson Park Marina, Dr. Randel, and look at the boats with solar and wind generators. These can energize hydrogen gas generators to supply fuel cells. There is an evolution of ideas in energy production, but progress is hobbled by contra-selective factors, not the least of which are memories of glories long since past.

Sheldon W. Samuels, AB’51
Philadelphia


Regarding President Don M. Randel’s column: I cannot agree more that nuclear energy is the only hope for ample energy supply in the future. However, from here on his reasoning is somewhat self-serving publicity for Argonne National Laboratories.

Unlike the nuclear bomb, which horrifies everyone, nuclear energy has been proven safe over the past 50 years. (See France, even Bulgaria.) It is a technology that can be applied immediately. Considering the rate of population increase, there is no time for fiddling with “long range” research, which might or might not bring a solution some 100 years from now. Power is needed now.

As to the disposal problem, other nations appear to be able to handle it. I would suggest we put the expended fuel where the military has already exploded literally several hundred atom bombs. How much more polluted can it get?

I also would suggest that President Randel, instead of begging for money, use the prestige of his famous institution to turn Washington’s attention to the global survival of the next generation. The Club of Rome has not been mistaken. The most important responsibility of the University of Chicago is to advise and pressure short-term politicians about the long-range outlook and consequences.

Incidentally, although I did research on energy for many years, I am now retired and have no personal interest whatsoever in the nuclear power industry. But I fear for my children and grandchildren.

John Tucson
Evanston, Illinois


The University of Chicago Magazine welcomes letters on its contents or on topics related to the University. Letters must be signed and may be edited for space and clarity. We ask readers to keep correspondence to 300 words or less. Write:

Editor, University of Chicago Magazine,
5801 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

E-mail: uchicago-magazine@uchicago.edu


 


Google
Search WWW Search magazine.uchicago.edu

Contact Advertising About the Magazine Alumni UChicago Views Archives
uchicago 2003 The University of Chicago Magazine 5801 South Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL 60637
phone: 773/702-2163 fax: 773/702-0495 uchicago-magazine@uchicago.edu