Thursday, 30 October 2014

Energy Quest 2014 Post Conference Report

 

 Overview

Energy Quest 2014
The first International Conference on Energy Production and Management in the 21st Century – the Quest for Sustainable Energy took place in Ekaterinburg, Russia, organised by the Ural Federal University (UFU) and the Wessex Institute, UK. The Conference Chairmen were Professor Carlos A Brebbia, from the Wessex Institute, and Professors Elena Magaril and Mikhail Khodorovsky, both from the Ural Federal University. The meeting, called Energy Quest for short, aimed to review and discuss the fields of energy production and management in a changing world.

Modern society requires an ever increasing amount of energy resources, which creates complex technological, economic and political challenges. The conference compared conventional energy sources, particularly hydrocarbons, hydroelectric and nuclear, with a number of other ways of producing energy, emphasising technological developments. The challenge is, in many cases, the conversion of new sources of energy into useful forms and finding efficient ways of storing and distributing energy.

Energy policies and management are of primary importance and need to be consistent with advances made in production and distribution. Furthermore, recent advances in the exploitation of depleted fields, shale oil and gas deposits, have changed the whole picture and given rise to new opportunities.

In the medium term a wide variety of energy alternatives are available, varying from nuclear to conventional hydrocarbons to those relying on renewable resources. There is a primary requirement to investigate the different types of energy and optimise their production, distribution and usage. In the long term there is a need to invest in new ways of harnessing solar power into energy that can be produced efficiently, is easy to store and can be distributed without major difficulties.

 Opening of the Conference

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Prof Brebbia
The conference was opened by the Rector of UFU, Professor Viktor Koksharov, who expressed his appreciation to the different parties who contributed to organise the meeting, including the local authorities, the SINARA group and WIT. He explained the importance of these meetings to develop the full research capabilities of the Ural Federal University and open opportunities for future collaboration.

Mr Neil Semple, British Council in Ekaterinburg, referred to the importance that his government attached to the development of sustainable energies and the help that is available through the Prosperity Fund, which allows top organisations like the Ural Federal University to collaborate with British institutions. He complimented the organisers, including the Wessex Institute, for having arranged such a successful meeting.

Igor Chekzizov, Vice Minister for Development of the Sverdkovsk region, talked of the importance of the Ural Federal University, one of the best in Russia. The conference was supported by the Ministry at an early date following a meeting held with the presence of Professors Magaril and Brebbia, to both of whom he expressed his congratulations. The Ministry supports these developments and sees them as sources of expert knowledge for the development of the region.

The Co-chairman of the conference, Prof Mikhail Khodorovsky, from the Ural Federal University and Head of SINARA industrial group, explained the importance of the topics described during the meeting to the development of the industrial capability of the region.

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Prof Magaril
Prof Elena Magaril, head of the department of Environmental Economics of UFU welcomed the developments and the excellent collaboration with WIT that led to the organisation of the meeting.

Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute, then referred to the importance of conferences like this in relation to the objectives of the Institute, ie the dissemination of knowledge at an international level. WIT although academically affiliated to the University of Wales, is otherwise an independent institution. Carlos described the work carried out by WIT Press, the academic publishers of the Institute, who have produced the Energy Quest conference book. WIT Press have launched a series of Journals, and are due to start a new one shortly as a result of this conference, ie the International Journal of Energy Production and Management.

Finally, Carlos referred to the well established medal launched in 1994 by the University of Siena and the Wessex Institute, in honour of the late Prof Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize for Chemistry and Honorary Chairman of one of the Institute’s conferences as well as Honorary Editor of a WIT Press international journal. Prof Prigogine was Russian by birth, as well as the last medallist, Prof Vladimir Voeikov from Moscow University who received the award last year at the Bucharest University of Technology.

 Keynote and Invited Presentations

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Delegates during the conference
The first technical presentation of the meeting was by the Minister, Nicolai Smirnov and entitled “The Sverdlovsk Region: steps towards sustainable development and energy security”. The government is anxious to communicate with all stakeholders and receive as much scientific advice as possible. Energy is plentiful in the region and this ought to lead to Sverdlovsk having a competitive advantage over other parts of Russia. To improve on this the government is focussing on optimising the use of energy and reviewing the infrastructure, aiming to reduce consumption.

Dr Erik Jarlsby, Senior Consultant from Avito company in Norway, gave a keynote address on “The global energy challenge: still fuel for progress?”, which referred to the global mission of the energy sector, ie (i) provide energy to enable human development; (ii) avoid serious damage to the environment, and (iii) convert those resources to lasting benefits for the nations.

On his presentation, Prof Nader Mahinpey from the University of Calgary, described “Pathways to energy and environmental sustainability; a Canadian perspective”, Nader is internationally known in the field of energy and the environment. Canada has the third largest reserves of oil in the world, but 97% is non conventional, ie mainly oil sands. In terms of gas is the third largest producer, after Russia and USA, mostly of shale gas. It has also large coal reserves. Furthermore a large proportion of its own energy is hydroelectric. The aim is to reduce the use of coal and increase that of renewables.

The keynote address of Prof Ove T Gudmestad from the University of Stavanger in Norway concentrated on “Sustainable oil and gas production in the 21st century with emphasis on offshore fields”. He pointed out the importance to ensure that oil and gas production is carried out in a sustainable way. His field of interest led to WIT Press publishing a book he wrote on Petroleum Energy, available in Russian as well as English. Ove stressed the importance of avoiding pollution in oil and gas production fields.

The keynote address by Prof Fabio Polonara of the Universitá Politecnica delle Marche, Italy, dealt with the “Demand side management of the built environment for sustainable energy”. He presented the case of several buildings from different periods to compare the importance of the new EU directives.

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Delegates during lunch break
Prof Godwell Nhamo from the University of South Africa dealt with a controversial topic under the title “Green economy: a game changer ushering the death of internal combustion engine?” Green growth rests upon the need to convert economies from being resource intensive to being low carbon and resource efficient. He considers that electric vehicles are inevitable and that green growth signals the death of the internal combustion engine in the not too distant future.

The problem of energy rating for green buildings in Europe was presented by Montserrat Zamorano of the University of Granada. Her paper summarises and analyses the most important differences between energy rating systems defined in the European Union communities according to the current legislative framework. The paper shows substantial differences between them in spite of having been developed to achieve the same objectives.

Solar energy systems was the topic of the presentation by Hussain Al-Kayiem from Petronas University in Malaysia. He discussed some setbacks suffered by solar energy and how they can be reversed by integrating it with other energy sources.

Another source of energy was discussed by Prof Elena Rada from the University of Trento in Italy, who spoke about how to obtain energy from municipal solid waste. This energy can be obtained by combustion, gasifaction or pyrolosis.

Prof Giuseppe Genon from the Politecnico di Torino, spoke about “Energy from biomass: the potentialities, environmental aspects and technology”. He also described the effects on climate change and the local acceptability as well as the competitive aspects and general costs involved.

 Further Invited Presentations

Other invited presentations were:

“Russian power sector reform: lessons for developing countries” by Leonid D Gitelman, Ural Federal University, Russia.

“Economical mechanism for the reform of regional heat supply systems” by Yulia Munts, Ural Federal University, Russia.

“Single-phase media hydrodynamics and heat transfer in heat exchangers with twisted profile tubes” by Yuri M Brodov, Ural Federal University, Russia.

“The impact of fiscal policies and standards on passenger car CO2 emissions in EU countries” by Amela Ajanovic, Vienna University of Technology, Austria.

“Planning for sustainable development of energy infrastructure: FAST – Fast Simulation Tool” by Robert Barelkowski, Polish Academy of Science, Poland.

“Structural design in a power grid company” by Andrey Makarov, Bashkirian Power Grid Company, Russia.
“Ion transport membrane technology for the primary processing of natural gas” by Victor Kozhevnikov, Institute of Solid State Chemistry, Russia.

“The solution to strategic problems in the oil refining industry as a factor for the sustainable development of automobile transport” by Elena Magaril, Ural Federal University, Russia.

“The influence of rectification sharpness on the quality of motor fuels” by Maxim Rogalev, Tyumen State of Oil & Gas University, Russia.

“Renewable energy-based plant remote monitoring complex using Wi-Fi channels and elements of artificial vision” by Sergey E Shcheklein, Ural Federal University, Russia.

“Estimation of the tribotechnical parameters of the ‘piston skirt-cylinder liner’ contact interface from an IC-engine for decreasing the mechanical losses” by Vladislav Lazarev, South Ural State University, Russia.

“Exhaust emissions from modes of transport under actual traffic conditions” by Jerzy Merkisz, Poznan University of Technology, Poland.

“Long-term developments in residues from the processing of alum shale and possible remedies” by Rolf Sjoblom, Lulea University of Technology, Sweden.

 Conference Topics

A substantial number of presentations were classified under the following topics:
  • Energy policies
  • Energy management
  • Energy and economic growth
  • Energy economics
  • Energy security
  • Energy production
  • Energy transmission and distribution
  • Energy conversion
  • Energy efficiency
  • Energy networks
  • Energy and transport
  • Energy in the built environment
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Processing of oil and gas
  • Pipelines
  • Nuclear energy
  • New energy sources
  • Biomass and biofuels
  • Environmental risks
  • Emissions
  • Training in energy and sustainability
  • Computational and experimental studies

 

 Special Discussion

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Delegates during special discussion
At the end of the first day a special round table discussion was organised about the creation of a group consisting of researchers from some of the different countries represented at the meeting. The aim was to set up a programme to train future managers for the Energy industry.

The group would bring together the best capabilities and resources of the members to put forward innovative world class management training. The initiative would be coordinated by the Graduate School of Economics and Management of UFU, with the collaboration of the Wessex Institute.

Such a programme needs to be interdisciplinary and involve engineering as well as economics, taking into account environmental assets and investment. The ENGEC Centre at UFU has experience in Engineering Management Systems, Banking, Investment and Environmental Economics, as well as having many well established links with universities and industries.

Graduates from the programme ought to be able to handle complex problems, working in interdisciplinary teams and with a “hands on” approach. It is important to train them in the context of global trades and being able to generate new knowledge.

The programme is designed for next generation Managers to build an elite group of professionals capable of working in any engineering company implementing energy policies for the 21st century.

The idea gave rise to a most interesting and lively debate during which a series of improvements were proposed, including the need to develop a common language to bridge the differences between different disciplines and the requirement to find a budget to support the initiative. There was general agreement that a programme of education on Global Energy Systems, would be most welcome.

The meeting concluded by reminding each member to find out the attitude of their institution towards such a programme.

 

Tour and Conference Dinner

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Conference dinner
At the end of the second day the delegates were taken on a guided bus tour of Ekaterinburg, visiting some of the most famous places, such as the Church of the Blood, now standing on the site of the basement where the Tsar and his family were murdered by the local Bolshevik regime and the monument to those soldiers who died in Afghanistan and later on in Chechnya. This resembles a tulip in black marble, as a reminder of the name given to the plane – black tulip – bringing their coffins home. Ekaterinburg is also known for arts and music and has a well known Opera House, which is also the site of its excellent Ballet company.

After the tour the delegates proceeded to the banquet, which took place in a restaurant serving Russian and Ukrainian specialities. The convivial atmosphere and friendship amongst delegates made this a unique occasion. Numerous vodka and wine toasts were made by the participants who were able to appreciate the classical Russian hospitality.

 

Young Researcher Seminar

The Conference was an occasion to programme several activities including a Young Researcher Seminar that took place at the headquarters of the Sinara Group in downtown Ekaterinburg. Carlos opened the seminar by explaining to the young Master and PhD candidates present the importance of being open to new ideas in order to be able to make significant contributions to technology and wealth creation, as well as for further academic development. New ideas, Carlos said, frequently originated from the cross-fertilization between different disciplines; methodologies employed in one field can be transferred to others for the solution of a whole range of new problems. This Seminar – Carlos explained – consists of short presentations by well known scientists who can demonstrate to young researchers some of the latest international trends.

The presentations covered the following topics:
  • Evolution of green energy and bio-refinery in North America
  • Sustainability in energy production
  • The global energy challenge: still fuel for progress?
  • Demand side management in the built environment for sustainable energy
  • Technology for Arctic offshore oil and gas developments
  • Energy rating for green buildings in Europe
  • MSW bio-drying and energy recovery
  • Energy paradox under BRICS’ green growth transition: no coal, no security?
  • Local planning for renewable energies: environmentally sensitive approach
  • Sewage sludge treatment and energy recovery
  • Solar integrated systems

 

 Closing of the Conference

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Special dinner
Carlos and Elena Magaril closed the conference by thanking the participants for their contributions and excellent papers. The success of the meeting was due to the close collaboration between those at WIT and Elena’s team at UFU. Carlos explained that the papers presented at the meeting have already been uploaded in important reference systems and the volume will be widely distributed through WIT Press in digital and hard cover formats. All these papers are archived in the Wessex Institute eLibrary http://library.witpress.com/, where they are easily available to the international scientific community.

Carlos hoped that all participants will consider contributing to WIT Journals and other publications, as well as attending the series arranged by the Institute on Energy and the Environment.

A special dinner was organised at the end of the conference to celebrate its success and launch the new Journal. The members of the International Scientific Advisory Committee, as well as other colleagues who collaborated in the meeting were invited to discuss ways in which the Energy Quest meeting could be improved when it is reconvened in 2016.

Several toasts were proposed, including one by Carlos to all around the table for their help with the Energy Quest 2014. He also described the idea of launching a Journal with the same aims as the conference to publish high quality papers dealing with energy production and management in an integrated manner.

The day after the conference closed, delegates were invited to a tour comprising a visit to the newly opened War Vehicles Museum outside Ekaterinburg. There they could appreciate the large industrial potential of the region to the military establishment, particularly during WWII where major industries were transferred to the Ural Mountains. Another interesting visit was to the place where the bodies of the Tsar and his family were buried, in an old mine shaft, outside Ekaterinburg. A new Monastery has now been built on the site which contains several churches and chapels and is a popular tourist site.

 

 Conference Proceedings

The proceedings of Energy Quest 2014 – Energy Production and Management in the 21st Century, 1339pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-816-9; eISBN: 978-1-84564-817-6) are available from WIT Press. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at www.witpress.com or by email: marketing@witpress.com, telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 190 of WIT Transactions on the Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com

 

 Related conferences

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Special Seminar by Prof Patrick Selvadurai

Prof Patrick Selvadurai, William Scott Professor and James McGill Professor, from the Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics at McGill University, Montreal in Canada, gave a special seminar at the Wessex Institute of Technology.
The lecture was entitled ‘Contact and Inclusion Problems in Biot Poromechanics’. Prof Selvadurai explained that poromechanics studies the behaviour of a porous media which is saturated with a fluid. The solid part of the material is referred to as the matrix which is permeated by a network of pores or voids which is filled with a fluid and are interconnected. It is usual to assume that both the solid matrix and the pore network are continuous and act like sponge. The theory can be applied to many substances such as rocks and soils and other materials. This type of porous material is a solid matrix which can be considered to be elastic and the fluid to be poroelastic. The poroelastic medium can be defined by its permeability and porosity as well as properties of its constituents both solid matrix and fluid.
Although Karl von Terzaghi is considered to be the father of soil mechanics, Maurice Biot developed the theory associated with poromechanics and published a series of papers between 1935 and 1957 on the theory of dynamic poroelasticity (known as Biot theory). This gives an understanding of behaviour of poroelasticity mediums using:
  • The equation of linear elasticity for a solid matrix.
  • Navier Stokes equation for viscous fluid.
  • Darcy’s Law for flow through a porous matrix.

In the theory of dynamic poroelasticity there exists three types of elastic waves, the first of which is a shear transverse wave and the remaining two are longitudinal and compression waves, these are referred to as type I and II waves.
Several applications to Biots theory were given, one of which was the subsidence of the Leaning Tower of Pisa which relates to the contact problems associated with poroelasticity.
The lecture was well received and generated a lively discussion.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Special Seminar by Prof Eckart Schnack


Professor Eckart Schnack from the Karlruhe Institute of Technology in Germany has given a Special Seminar in the newly inaugurated Neptune Lecture room at the Wessex Institute of Technology.

The lecture was entitled “Applying NTFA method for nonlinear homogenization of metal-ceramic composites of AlSi12/Al2O3”

Metal Matrix Composites (MMC) are important lightweight materials because of their excellent mechanic properties. In this work, the 3D model microstructure of AlSi12/Al2O3 with periodic spatial discretization is produced and used as the virtual material for the homogenization process. With an efficient description of the macroscopic thermo-mechanical behavior of metal-ceramic composites, the thermo-mechanical homogenization method, the non-uniform transformation field analysis (NTFA) was adopted and extended by reformulation of the underlying equations. This method is an ’’order reduction’’ technique specifically designed for homogenization problems with micro-mechanical motivation. The implementation of NTFA was based on the finite element method. The homogenized material model was implemented into ABAQUS in structural analysis. Comparison of numerical results with full-field simulation highlights the efficiency of NTFA for three-dimensional homogenization problems.

The lecture was followed with great interest by the participants and resulted in a long and lively discussion.

Prof Schnack is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Wessex Institute of Technology.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Special Seminar by Prof Patrick Selvadurai

Prof Patrick Selvadurai, William Scott Professor and James McGill Professor, from the Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics at McGill University, Montreal in Canada, gave a special seminar at the Wessex Institute of Technology.
The lecture was entitled ‘Contact and Inclusion Problems in Biot Poromechanics’. Prof Selvadurai explained that poromechanics studies the behaviour of a porous media which is saturated with a fluid. The solid part of the material is referred to as the matrix which is permeated by a network of pores or voids which is filled with a fluid and are interconnected. It is usual to assume that both the solid matrix and the pore network are continuous and act like sponge. The theory can be applied to many substances such as rocks and soils and other materials. This type of porous material is a solid matrix which can be considered to be elastic and the fluid to be poroelastic. The poroelastic medium can be defined by its permeability and porosity as well as properties of its constituents both solid matrix and fluid.
Although Karl von Terzaghi is considered to be the father of soil mechanics, Maurice Biot developed the theory associated with poromechanics and published a series of papers between 1935 and 1957 on the theory of dynamic poroelasticity (known as Biot theory). This gives an understanding of behaviour of poroelasticity mediums using:
  • The equation of linear elasticity for a solid matrix.
  • Navier Stokes equation for viscous fluid.
  • Darcy’s Law for flow through a porous matrix.
In the theory of dynamic poroelasticity there exists three types of elastic waves, the first of which is a shear transverse wave and the remaining two are longitudinal and compression waves, these are referred to as type I and II waves.
Several applications to Biots theory were given, one of which was the subsidence of the Leaning Tower of Pisa which relates to the contact problems associated with poroelasticity.
The lecture was well received and generated a lively discussion.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Horse Meat Scandal - Food and Environment 2013


Regarding the recent coverage of the mislabelling of food throughout Europe, we would like to bring to your attention the second international conference on Food and Environment which will be held in BudapestHungary from 22-24 April this year.  The conference will cover the important topics of traceability, contamination, regulations, transportation within the food industry, and other related topics.

The aim of the conference is to emphasise the effects of modern food production processes on the environment and human health, and to initiate discussion on the best ways to provide food of required quality, sufficient quantities and in a sustainable way.

The many advances made over the past century in food production have resulted in the possibility of feeding the whole of humanity. These advances have been achieved by the introduction of new production practices and a variety of added substances aimed at enhancing the quality and safety of food products; the whole process being affected by other environmental conditions such as contamination of air, water and soil resulting from sources other than agriculture. On the other hand there are examples where food production and food processing have detrimental effects on the environment. Some of the major challenges remain with extensive farming, which though offering higher productivity and larger volumes, should neither compromise the quality of the product nor cause undue suffering to animals.

Given the importance of this problem which affects the whole world population, it is essential to understand the consequences that food production, processes and demands can have on the food consumed daily. Of particular importance are the effects on human health and the well-being of the population, as well as the more general issues related to possible damage to the environment and ecology.

Food-related problems, in spite of their importance, have not been sufficiently well discussed in relation to the possible consequences to the environment, to better understand the challenges faced by society in this regard.

For further information please refer to our website http://www.wessex.ac.uk/13-conferences/food-and-environment-2013.html.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Post Conference Reports

Post Conference reports are now available for all the 2012 Wessex Institute Conferences at http://www.wessex.ac.uk/12-conferences.html - Find out what happened at the conference or go to http://library.witpress.com and search for the papers presented at the conferences.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Prigogine Medal 2012

Prof. Gerald Pollack
The 2012 Prigogine Medal was presented to Professor Gerald Pollack from the University of Washington at the Sustainable City 2012 conference held in Ancona, Italy earlier this year.

The Prigogine Medal was established by the University of Siena and the Wessex Institute of Technology to honour the memory of Professor Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry.

Professor Carlos A Brebbia expressed the gratitude of the conference and his Institution for the support received from the University of La Marche. He then explained that the work of Prigogine is of direct relevance to the material presented at Sustainable City 2012. Ilya Prigogine was born in Moscow in 1917 and obtained his degree in Chemistry at the Free University of Brussels. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures. The main theme of his scientific work was the role of time in the physical sciences and biology. The results of his work have had profound consequences for understanding biological and ecological systems.

Prigogine’s ideas established the basis for ecological systems research. The Prigogine Medal to honour his memory – Carlos said - is awarded annually to a leading scientist in the field of ecological systems. All recipients have been deeply influenced by the work of Prigogine.
Previous Prigogine Medal winners are:
  • 2004 Sven Jorgensen, Denmark
  • 2005 Enzo Tiezzi, Italy
  • 2006 Bernard Patten, USA
  • 2007 Robert Ulanowicz, USA
  • 2009 Ioannis Antoniou, Greece
  • 2010 Felix Müller, Germany
  • 2011 Larissa Brizhik, Ukraine
The establishment of the Medal was in large part an initiative of the late Professor Enzo Tiezzi, an outstanding disciple of Prigogine.

Professor  Brebbia asked Professor Ricardo Pulselli, of the University of Siena, Italy, to say a few words regarding Enzo Tiezzi, a pioneer of complex dynamic systems and the thermodynamics of living systems.
He received the 2005 Medal at the University of Cadiz during an academic ceremony presented by the Rector of that Institution. Professor Tiezzi studied at the University of Florence where he developed an interest in the then novel field of Magnetic Resonance.

While on a Fulbright scholarship at Washington University, he worked under Professor Sam Weissman of the Physics Department and Professor Barry Commoner of the Department of Biology.

The development of Enzo’s outstanding scientific career was matched by a strong involvement in environmental and social issues, reflecting his deep commitment to ecology and Prigogine’s ideas. Professor Tiezzi in addition to numerous papers, published more than 20 books dealing with scientific topics, as well as humanities and poetry. He was an outstanding photographer and artist. Enzo was a good friend of the Wessex Institute as well as a member of its Board of Directors.

His group on Ecology and Thermodynamics, discipline that he called Ecodynamics, continues to carry out Enzo’s research at the University of Siena.

Professor Brebbia thanked Ricardo for his remarks and briefly described the career of Gerald Pollack, the recipient of the 2012 Medal, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, USA.

Gerald received his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and since then has carried out outstanding research in a wide variety of fields, ranging from biological motion and cell biology to the interaction of biological surfaces with aqueous solutions. He has published numerous papers in leading scientific journals and is author of several books, including one on the underlying principle of biological motion and another on cells and gels as the engines of life.

He has received many awards and is a member of prestigious national and international organisations. Gerald is founding Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and a Fellow of both the American Heart Association and the Biomedical Engineering Society.

Professor Brebbia then asked Professor Nadia Marchettini, of the University of Siena and widow of Enzo Tiezzi to present the medal.

Nadia referred to the saying ‘Scientists do not read Shakespeare and humanists have no sense for the beauty of mathematics’. That is how Prigogine introduced the dichotomy between the two cultures, scientific and humanist.

When Enzo Tiezzi met Carlos A Brebbia – Nadia said – to discuss the idea of launching a special award for scientist-humanistic in memory of his mentor Ilya Prigogine, Enzo clearly expressed the opinion to rejoin those two cultures.

The Prigogine medal was conceived to reward interdisciplinary research and overcome the problem of the fragmentation of knowledge imposed by artificial mesh boundaries’

In this regard it is pertinent to quote Herman Daly, father of Ecological Economics, who said,
‘Real problems do not observe academic boundaries. We certainly believe that thinking should be ‘disciplined’ in the sense of observing logic and facts, but not ‘disciplinary’ in the sense of limiting itself to traditional methodologies and tools that have become enshrined in the academic departments’

Nadia ended her remarks with a few words that Enzo would have to say on occasions and were found in a note amongst his many papers. They are of particular interest in the time of crisis we are currently living ie:

‘Democracy is always the fruit of co-evolution of the natural environment and human culture, and therefore varies from place to place.
‘Democracy can only exist if the natural and cultural diversity of a region is respected and considered, and with it the sacredness of places.
‘Democracy is real democracy if it allows science and art to express themselves without the constraints of utility, ideology, dogma, economic interest or aims. Archimedes used to say that he was not concerned with useful things, only with the free and beautiful.

Nadia then presented the Prigogine Medal to Gerald Pollack who proceeded to deliver his special lecture on ‘The Secret Life of Water: E=H20’, an abstract of which is as follows:
‘School children learn that water has three phases: solid, liquid and vapor. But we have recently uncovered what appears to be a fourth phase. This phase occurs next to water-loving (hydrophilic) surfaces. It is surprisingly extensive, projecting out from the surface by up to millions of molecular layers.

‘Of particular significance is the observation that this fourth phase is charged; and, the water just beyond is oppositely charged, creating a battery that can produce current. We found that light recharges this battery. Thus, water can receive and process electromagnetic energy drawn from the environment — much like plants. The absorbed light energy can then be exploited for performing work, including electrical and mechanical work. Recent experiments confirm the reality of such energy conversion.

‘The energy-conversion framework implied above seems rich with implication. Not only does it provide an understanding of how water processes solar and other energies, but also it may provide a foundation for simpler understanding natural phenomena ranging from weather and green energy all the way to biological issues such as the origin of life, transport, and osmosis.

The lecture presented evidence for the presence of this novel phase of water, and considered the potentially broad implications of this phase for physics, chemistry and biology, as well as some practical applications for engineering.’