Montana State University

Solar energy is focus of Oct. 16 Café Scientifique

October 4, 2007 -- From MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- Solar energy and developing the ability to store it will be the focus of the next Café Scientifique to be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Ferraro's Fine Italian Restaurant in Bozeman.

Harry Barkus Gray from the California Institute of Technology will speak on "Powering the Planet with Solar Energy." Gray is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and the founding director of the Beckman Institute at Caltech. His main research interests center on inorganic spectroscopy, photochemistry and bioinorganic chemistry, with an emphasis on understanding the electron transfer in proteins. Gray has received numerous prestigious prizes including the National Medal of Science from President Ronald Reagan. He was California Scientist of the year in 1988. He has published 17 books and more than 700 papers. He has received 16 honorary doctorates.

Many research groups have taken up the challenge of finding efficient and economical ways of storing solar energy in chemical bonds, Gray said. One of their major goals is extracting protons and electrons from water by using solar-driven machines that work as well or better than natural photosystems.

Café Scientifique is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and the event is popular, so attendees may want to arrive before 6:30 p.m. Café Scientifique, co-sponsored by Montana's INBRE Program and MSU's College of Letters and Science, provides a relaxed setting for people to learn about current scientific research. The concept started in England in 1998 and has spread to a handful of locations in the United States. Following a short presentation by a scientific expert, the majority of time is reserved for questions, answers and lively discussion.

For more information, call Laurie Howell at (406) 994-7531 or For more information about the Café Scientifique concept, check the Web at

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or