Nicola Cabibbo

Nicola Cabibbo
Professor, University of Rome, Sapienza
President, Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Nicola Cabibbo is an Italian physicist, best known for work on the weak nuclear interaction. He was also the president of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics from 1983 to 1992, and since 1993 he has been the president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

More recently, Cabibbo has been researching applications of supercomputers to address problems in modern physics with the experiments APE 100 and APE 1000.


Carlos F.M. Coimbra
Associate Professor, School of Engineering
University of California, Merced

Carlos Coimbra (Ph.D. UC Irvine, 1998) was a Co-Investigator of NASA's $1M Spaceflight Definition Program Spaceflight Holography Investigation in a Virtual Apparatus (SHIVA), was a Co-Principal Investigator of the  $8M SMDC’s Low-Earth Orbit Nanosatellite Integrated Defense Autonomous System (LEONIDAS) Project at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and was responsible for the thermal modeling, micro-propulsion and some aspects of Systems Integration of the University of Hawaii Small Satellite Program.  He is the Principal Investigator for a large-scale energy research project called the Solar Forecasting Iniative in addition to his duties as Chair of the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics Program at UC Merced.


Gerardo Diaz
Assistant Professor, School of Engineering
University of California, Merced

Professor Diaz received his Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Santiago, Chile, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1999 and 2000, respectively.   Dr. Diaz worked for four years at the Research and Development department of Modine Manufacturing Company in Wisconsin, specializing in modeling and testing of air conditioning systems for stationary and mobile systems. He also worked in the design of a control logic for the operation of transcritical vapor compression systems. In 2004, Dr. Diaz joined Honeywell International in Torrance, California.  He worked in environmental controls systems for aircraft platforms. In 2005 he became a founding member of the faculty at the new University of California, Merced in the School of Engineering.  Professor Diaz works with the UC Merced Energy Research Institute in problems related to energy efficient systems and renewable energy sources.  


Paul Douglas
Manager of Renewable Procurement and Resource Planning,
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

As Manager of Renewable Procurement and Resource Planning, Douglas is responsible for the design and implementation of California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program, the largest program of its kind in the nation. Since the program’s inception, Paul has taken the lead on a wide range of RPS implementation challenges, ranging from avoided cost calculations and bid evaluation methodology to renewable energy credit (RECs) trading and procurement guidelines. To date, the program has resulted in approximately 6,000 MW of renewable generation through 100 contracts that includes solar, wind, geothermal, biomass in California and the western U.S.


David F. Kelley
Professor of Natural Sciences
University of California, Merced

Prof. Kelley came to UC Merced as one of the founding faculty in 2003.  Prior to that, he was on the faculty in the Chemistry Departments at Kansas State University, Colorado State University and UCLA. Professor Kelley graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Physics and Chemistry from Whitworth College, and received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Washington. He is currently studying the ultrafast processes that follow the absorption of light in several types of alternative semiconductors, including the use of quantum dot semiconductors for solar energy conversion. His immediate research goals are to understand how surface imperfections on semiconductor quantum dots affect interfacial electron transfer and therefore the photoelectric characteristics in arrays of these particles.

Martha Krebs


Martha Krebs
Deputy Director for Energy Research and Development
California Energy Commission

Dr. Martha Krebs is Deputy Director for Energy Research and Development for the California Energy Commission.  The Energy Research and Development Division is responsible for the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, which conducts research that seeks to improve the quality of life for California citizens by developing next generation environmentally sound, reliable and affordable electricity and natural gas services and products.

From 1993 to 2000, Dr. Krebs served as Assistant Secretary and Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, responsible for the $3.5 billion basic research program that underlay the Department’s energy, environmental and national security missions.  She also had the statutory responsibility for advising the Secretary on the broad R&D portfolio of the Department and the institutional health of its National Laboratories. 

From 1983-1993, she served as an Associate Director for Planning and Development at the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she was responsible for strategic planning for research and facilities, Laboratory technology transfer, and science education and outreach.  From 1977-1983, she served on the House Committee on Science first as a Professional Staff Member and then as Subcommittee Staff Director, responsible for authorizing DOE non-nuclear energy technologies and energy science programs

She received her Bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in Physics from the Catholic University of America.


Sarah Kurtz

Sarah R. Kurtz
Principal Scientist
National Center for Photovoltaics

Sarah R. Kurtz is a Principal Scientist in the National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV) at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She studies high-efficiency solar cells and the materials that are used to make them. The Department of Energy (DOE) supports a variety of research programs to improve the performance and decrease the manufacturing costs of solar cells. The NCPV coordinates DOE's photovoltaic research at industry, universities, and national labs with the goal of moving our country toward the day when solar cells will be a common source of electricity.


Maria Pallavicini
Dean, School of Natural Sciences
University of California, Merced

Dr. Pallavicini is a Professor of Cell Biology and Founding Dean of the School of Natural Sciences at UC Merced.  She is internationally recognized for her work in stem cell biology, particularly stem cells in leukemia (blood cancer) and breast cancer.  Dr. Pallavicini received a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Pharmacology. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, she joined the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she worked for more than 12 years in the Biomedical Sciences Division.  She was a professor at UCSF for 12 years in the School of Medicine before becoming the Founding Dean at UC Merced.  She is Past-President of the International Society of Analytical Cytology, ISAC and is a member of numerous advisory boards. She has been leading the planning effort for the Medical School at UC Merced.

 Arno Penzias

Arno Penzias
Venture Partner
New Enterprise Associates

A Nobel laureate and venture capital advisor, Arno Penzias is uniquely qualified to speak on the business potential of emerging technologies. He served as vice president and chief scientist with AT&T Bell Laboratories/Lucent Technologies, and was instrumental in building the firm’s reputation for scientific excellence and managed the most outstanding group of industrial scientists and engineers ever assembled. He currently is a venture partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the country’s largest early-stage venture capital firm, for whom he seeks out promising technology companies and, as an advisor and board member, helps to catalyze their development.

 Roland Winston  

Roland Winston
Professor of Natural Sciences & Engineering Chair
University of California, Merced

Prof. Winston came to UC Merced in 2003 after an academic career at The University of Chicago where he chaired the physics department for six years. Since coming to UC Merced, he was Chancellor's Professor with named scholarship (2006), chaired the UC Merced division of the academic senate (2005-06), received the first ASME energy award (2006), wrote Nonimaging Optics, Academic Press (Elsevier) 2005, wrote many papers, several licensed patents and started a solar energy group with California Energy Commission support. Prof. Winston continues his collaboration with NA48, a high energy physics experiment at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.


Jeff R. Wright
Dean of Engineering
University of California, Merced

Jeff R. Wright is founding Dean of Engineering at the University of California, Merced, Director of the UC Merced Energy Research Institute, and the Campus Director of the Center for Computer and Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). He was formerly Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Civil Engineering, and Director of the Indiana Water Resources Research Center, at Purdue University. Dean Wright holds undergraduate degrees in social psychology and in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington, an MSE in Environmental Engineering also from the University of Washington, and a Doctorate from The Johns Hopkins University through the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. Professor Wright is a noted authority on the design and implementation of decision support systems for public-sector engineering planning and management.