Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil

Portland State University Seminar Speaker:
David L. Goodstein, Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology
Talk given in March, 2015

Dr. David Goodstein explains why he predicts:

“Civilization as we know it will come to an end sometime in this century, when the (fossil hydro-carbon) fuel runs out.”

Dr. Goodstein alludes to the fact that mastering and harnessing fusion energy is the only viable solution once fossil fuels become negative net energy producing, meaning more energy is required to extract them than produced by burning them. Nuclear fission is a bridge but not a replacement for fossil fuels.

Dr. David L. Goodstein, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Caltech, where he has been on the faculty for more than 35 years. Dr. Goodstein served as Caltech’s Vice Provost from 1988-2007.

In 1995, he was named the Frank J. Gilloon Distinguished Teaching and Service Professor. In 1999, Dr. Goodstein was awarded the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers, and in 2000, the John P. McGovern Medal of the Sigma Xi Society. He has served on and chaired numerous scientific and academic panels, including the National Advisory Committee to the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate of the National Science Foundation. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the California Council on Science and Technology. His books include States of Matter (Prentice Hall, 1975, Dover, 1985) and Feynman’s Lost Lecture (Norton, 1996), written with his wife, Dr. Judith Goodstein. In the 1980’s he was Director and host of The Mechanical Universe, an educational television series that has been used by millions of students all over the world.

In recent times, while continuing to teach and conduct research in experimental Condensed Matter Physics, Dr. Goodstein has turned his attention to issues related to science and society. In articles, speeches and colloquia he has addressed conduct and misconduct in science, the end of exponential growth of the scientific enterprise, and issues related to fossil fuel and the climate of Planet Earth.