COVID-19 Information

Jones Seminar: Advancing Energy Frontiers by Understanding Engineering Behavior

Leidy Klotz, Copenhaver Associate Professor, University of Virginia

Friday, February 21, 2020, 3:30–4:30pm

Rm 100 (Spanos Auditorium), Cummings Hall

With a goal of helping a broad audience envision new paths towards more sustainable energy futures, this seminar will describe emerging technical frontiers between engineering and behavioral science. We will begin with examples of research on the engineering of buildings and infrastructure (which account for more energy use and climate changing emissions than vehicles and airplanes combined.) This research shows that science-informed changes to the contexts in which engineering occurs have the potential to prevent gigatons worth of carbon dioxide emissions. From these illustrative examples, we will then zoom out to systematically review other energy frontiers that can only be seen—and then pursued—using a similar approach that deeply integrates engineering with behavioral science. We will see why these frontiers are relevant not only to a narrow notion of “engineers,” but to a broader conception of Dartmouth Engineers: defined here as anyone creatively applying science to change existing situations into preferred ones. To support this assertion of broad relevance, we will review research on Lego building, grilled cheese making, and music composition. Because, taken together, these studies suggest ways to relieve a sustainable energy conundrum recognized by thought leaders including Dana Meadows and Dr. Seuss.

About the Speaker

Leidy Klotz is the Copenhaver Associate Professor at the University of Virginia. His scholarship spans engineering and behavioral science, in pursuit of more sustainable energy systems. To support this work, Klotz has been awarded over ten million dollars in competitive funding. He has published more than 65 peer-reviewed articles in top journals in built environment and energy engineering, design, and engineering education, as well as imprints of both Science and Nature. Through his research, Klotz advises organizations including the Department of Energy, the World Bank, and ideas42. To share with even broader audiences, Klotz has written one book, drafted a second, and published articles in venues such as Fast Company, The Daily Climate, and ASEE Prism. An award-winning teacher and mentor, Klotz works closely with students in his courses and beyond: for example, his open online course led to energy innovation projects on three continents, he speaks frequently to student groups, and eleven of his undergraduate mentees have earned NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Klotz has also advised more than twenty doctoral and post-doctoral students, with ten alumni of his research group now holding tenure-track faculty positions, and others in influential industry roles. More than three quarters of Klotz’s exceptional current and former advisees identify with groups underrepresented in engineering.

For more information, contact Ashley Parker at