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July 19, 2000
Princeton scientist wins Volvo Environment Prize
Princeton, N.J. -- Robert H. Williams, senior research scientist at Princeton's Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, has been named a co-winner of the 2000 Volvo Environment Prize.
Williams shares the prize with Jose; Goldemberg of Brazil, Thomas Johansson of Sweden and Amulya Reddy of India. Working together since the early 1980s, the four scientists have developed an innovative policy-driven approach to technical analysis of world energy. They have formulated energy strategies that help solve major energy-linked problems of poverty, local and global environmental concerns, military conflict, and nuclear weapons proliferation -- problems that would be exacerbated in a "business-as-usual" future based on today's energy technologies. These strategies include more efficient energy use, various forms of renewable energy, hydrogen as an energy carrier, and, as a response to climate change concerns, deep underground sequestration of the carbon dioxide byproduct of hydrogen manufactured from fossil fuels.
Their analyses also show that the developing countries can avoid retracing the polluting energy path of industrialized countries and "leap-frog" directly to cleaner, safer technologies.
"The way in which these four scientists from culturally diverse backgrounds have been working together so successfully sends a very timely and highly salient signal about the importance and value of international cooperation for shaping a sustainable energy future," according to the Volvo Environment Prize Foundation citation.
Williams, who received a 1967 Ph.D. in physics from University of California Berkeley, has been at the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies since 1975. He has taken on numerous leadership roles in the energy policy arena and has served on advisory panels to the United Nations, the European Union, and the US government. He has been the recipient of many awards, including a 1993 MacArthur Foundation Prize.
Worth about $170,000 and now in its 11th year, the Prize is given annually to scientists who have made outstanding contributions to understanding or protecting the environment.