Honorary Degree Recipient, Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS, to deliver two public lectures at Guelph

Professor Sir Chris llewellyn SMith
Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS

Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS, will accept an honorary degree from the University of Guelph at the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences convocation on Tuesday, June 11th. 

He will deliver two public lectures the for the campus and wider community on Wednesday, June 12th. 

Biography

Chris Llewellyn Smith is a theoretical physicist. He is currently interested in all aspects of energy supply and demand. Chris has inter alia served as Director of Energy Research, Oxford University (2011-17), President of the Council of SESAME - Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (2008-11), Chair of the Council of the world fusion project ITER (2007-09), and Director General of CERN (1994-1998, when the Large Hadron Collider was approved and construction started).  He has written and spoken widely on science funding, international scientific collaboration and energy issues, and served on many advisory bodies nationally and internationally, including the UK Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology (1989-92). His contributions to theoretical particle physics and leadership have been recognised by awards and honours world-wide, including most recently the American Association for Advancement of Science’s 2019 award for Science Diplomacy and an Honorary DSc from the University of Guelph.

Lectures

Can future needs be met sustainably? | June 12, 10am, MacN 113

Global energy consumption is increasing rapidly, driven by rising living standards in developing countries. The energy provided by burning fossil fuels (which still accounts for some 80% of the total) is also growing, albeit not quite so fast. This is unsustainable. Decarbonisation is imperative: to reduce air pollution, rebalance relations between oil producing and importing countries, and moderate climate change. However, scenarios that meet the International Panel on Climate Change’s goal of net-zero emissions in the second half of the century all involve heroic technical, economic and political assumptions.

I will focus on ‘stubborn’ (especially hard to decarbonise) sectors, which include heat (in industry and buildings), aviation and shipping. Further electrification plays a key role in all low carbon scenarios. The rapid fall in the cost of wind and solar power provides grounds for optimism, but integrating them with other sources will produce new challenges and costs. While examining the global outlook and commenting on the situation in Canada, I will illustrate some of the changes that total decarbonisation will require in the case of the UK,  which looks set to adopted the world’s strongest legally binding target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Science Diplomacy | June 12, 2pm, MacN 113

Science Diplomacy is a term that has come to be used to describe almost all activities that involve both science/scientists and international relations/politicians/diplomats. I will discuss examples, successes and failures of ‘Science in diplomacy’ i.e. science advice supporting foreign policy objectives, both ‘Science supporting international political objectives’ (e.g. nuclear arms control) and ‘Science helping to meet global technical challenges’ (e.g. tackling climate change) ‘Diplomacy for science’ i.e. diplomacy facilitating international scientific cooperation (e.g. negotiating international participation in the LHC, and choosing the site for ITER), and ‘Science for diplomacy’ i.e. scientific cooperation fostering better relations (e.g. through collaboration at CERN, and mobility of students and researchers as an element of ‘soft power’). I will end by describing the SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) project, whose members are Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey, which  - having overcome many difficulties - is now working, and bringing together scientists from across the region.