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January 27, 2010: Amory Lovins

Environmental expert Amory Lovins gave the annual Arthur Holly Compton Lecture titled “Reinventing Fire: The Profitable Transition From Oil and Coal to Efficiency and Renewables” on January 27, 2010.

Deemed by many as an environmental visionary, Lovins has advocated for finding and using alternative energy sources for more than three decades. As co-founder, chair and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a leading environmental think tank, he is widely recognized as one of the world’s premiere authorities on energy conservation and innovation.

His concept of a “softer path,” introduced in a 1976 Foreign Affairs article advocating for the investigation of new and renewable energy resources, served as an important foundation for environmentalists and entrepreneurs who are turning ideas into real innovations.

As he notes in his most recent book, “Winning the Oil Endgame,” technological inventions such as modern biofuels and saved natural gas now make it possible to displace U.S. oil production by the 2040s, at a greatly reduced cost.

Because his expertise covers oil dependency, national security and economic stability in addition to climate change, Lovins serves as a consultant to world leaders, major corporations and government entities such as the Department of Defense.

In last year’s Time magazine, he was identified as one of 100 persons who most affect the world. Lovins also has authored or co-authored more than 20 books and hundreds of articles.

His major awards and prizes include a MacArthur Fellowship; Time magazine’s 2000 Heroes of the Planet Award; the Nissan Prize (given for inventing ultra-light hybrid cars); the World Technology Award; and Popular Mechanics magazine’s Breakthrough Leadership Award. He also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.