Lynd to Deliver Queneau Chair Celebratory Lecture

October 6, 2009

CONTACT: Catharine Lamm

In celebration of Lee Lynd's appointment to Thayer School's Paul E. and Joan H. Queneau Distinguished Professorship in Environmental Engineering Design, Professor Lynd will deliver a lecture entitled "Sustainable Biofuels: A Personal Odyssey." The lecture will take place on Friday, October 16 at 3:30pm in Spanos Auditorium, Cummings Hall. A reception in the adjacent Great Hall will follow and the event is free and open to the public.

Professor Lynd
Lee Lynd, Paul E. and Joan H. Queneau Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering Design

In his lecture—given as one of this fall's Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society—Professor Lynd will explain why he considers the transition to a world supported by sustainable resources to be a defining challenge of our time. He will also provide an overview of his three decades of activity in the biofuels field and offer perspectives on educational needs and opportunities associated with the sustainable resource transition.

According to Lynd: "Only two major resource transitions have occurred in human history: from hunting and gathering to pre-industrial agricultural, and from pre-industrial agricultural to non-sustainable industrial. There is abundant evidence that we have an urgent need to undertake a third transition to a sustainable industrial society. This is made more challenging because we have more people, less time, and more catastrophic failure modes for the third transition as compared to the first two. A few hundred years from now, when people look back at our time, they will judge us by how well we responded to this challenge."

Lynd added that microbial cellulose utilization was long thought to be at best practical in the distant future, but "it now appears based on recent advances led by Mascoma Corporation that this approach offers transformative impacts now."

Co-founder, Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Mascoma Corporation, a biomass energy start-up, Lynd has been a member of the Dartmouth engineering faculty since 1987. Lynd is also an Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth, and Professor Extraordinary of Microbiology at Stellenbosch U., South Africa. Lynd holds a B.S. in biology from Bates College, an M.S. in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, and master's and doctoral degrees in engineering from Dartmouth.

Lynd was awarded the Queneau Professorship In Environmental Engineering Design in March, 2008. The Queneau Chair is designated for an outstanding authority in chemical engineering recognized for solving environmental problems of industry. "Thayer School is honored to name Lee Lynd as the holder of the Queneau Chair," said Dean Joseph Helble, "in recognition of three decades of outstanding contributions to the development of sustainable biofuels through his work in the research laboratory, in the classroom, and as an entrepreneur."

Lynd is an expert on utilization of plant biomass for production of energy. His contributions span the science, technology, and policy domains and include leading research on fundamental and biotechnological aspects of microbial cellulose utilization. He has led an active research group addressing these issues over the last two decades, authoring over 75 archival papers, book chapters, and reviews as well as 11 patents and patent applications.

A frequently invited presenter on technical and strategic aspects of biomass energy, Lynd has three times testified before the United States Senate and was a speaker at the 2007 Nobel Conference. In 2007 Lynd was the inaugural recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Sustainability prize for inventions and innovations that enhance economic opportunity and community well-being while protecting and restoring the natural environment. In 2005 he received the Charles D. Scott Award for distinguished contributions to the field of biotechnology for fuels and chemicals.

Created with the entire income from Professor of Engineering Emeritus Paul E. Queneau's 12 inventions during his tenure at Thayer School from 1971 to 1997, the Queneau Chair is augmented by a grant from INCO, for which Professor Queneau served as vice president and chief technical officer before coming to Thayer School.