Underscores Institute's Commitment to Creatively Bring Together Diverse Fields for Transformative Science

PASADENA, CA – JUNE 4, 2013 – A principal scientific investigator at the Caltech Resnick Sustainability Institute, Dr. Frances Arnold, has received this year's Eni Award in Renewable and Non-Conventional Energy. This follows last year's Eni award to Dr. Harry A. Atwater, Director of the Resnick Institute. Both of these scientists have made substantial breakthroughs by bringing together multiple fields of science to create transformational changes in the state of the world's sustainability.

Dr. Arnold leads a team that has combined chemistry and molecular biology to develop a new field of directed evolution. Directed evolution enables the discovery and optimization of biological catalysts – including those for making fuels and chemicals from renewable resources and for environmentally-friendly chemical processes. Dr. Arnold is Caltech's Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry and, in her role, oversees much of the biofuels research at the Resnick Institute.

In 2012, Dr. Atwater received the Eni award for developing new ultrathin, high-efficiency solar cells. Atwater is Caltech's Howard Hughes Professor and professor of applied physics and materials science, as well as director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute. As a pioneer in the fields of photonics and plasmonics, he has spent decades marrying optics, material science, and a variety of other disciplines to develop the highest efficiency solar technologies.

"To solve sustainability problems, thinking big is critical," said Atwater. "This is the only way meaningful, transformative changes will be made."

Underscored Arnold, "Bringing together scientific disciplines in new ways realizes breakthroughs that might not emerge with straight-line thinking. Caltech as a whole and the Resnick Sustainability Institute in particular, encourage this kind of cross-catalytic thinking."

The Eni Award for Renewable and Non-Conventional energy is one of several annual awards presented by Eni, an integrated energy company based in Italy ( Both Dr. Arnold and Dr. Atwater received their awards with partners.

About The Resnick Sustainability Institute

The Resnick Institute is Caltech's studio focused on the breakthroughs that will change the balance of the world's sustainability. It marries bold creativity and deep scientific knowledge by encouraging original thinking and orthogonal ideas. The Resnick Institute works with some of the world's top and emerging scientists at the California Institute of Technology and beyond. Current projects at the Resnick Institute include research into energy generation, such as advanced photovoltaics, photoelectrochemical solar fuels, cellulosic biofuels, and wind energy system design; energy conversion work on batteries and fuel cells; and energy efficiency and management such as fuel efficient vehicles, green chemical synthesis, thermoelectric materials, and advanced research on electrical grid control and distribution.

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