Ninth William Pitt Seminar and Dinner

by Rachel Smith


On Friday 17th October the College hosted the ninth William Pitt Seminar and Dinner.

This year’s topic was ‘Nervous Energy: Will the lights stay on?’

The Master, Sir Richard Dearlove, welcomed the speakers and guests. Then four panellists, chaired by Lord Oxburgh, offered a range of different perspectives on the topical issues of energy, electricity and the environment.

Professor Roderick Smith, former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department for Transport, explained that our planet is fragile and yet we are placing increasingly larger demands on it; the Earth simply cannot sustain continued growth at the current rate.

Candida Whitmill, Managing Director of Penultimate Power UK Ltd, argued for the use of small modular reactors to help manage supply.

Professor Clare Grey, a Fellow of Pembroke, addressed the problems of energy storage and explained some of her own work to develop new lithium-ion batteries.

Alistair Buchan, former CEO of Ofgem, concluded that we are sleepwalking into a crisis that really might mean the lights go out.

The room was packed with students, fellows, staff, alumni and a range of other guests. This made for a lively question and answer session, with comments covering everything from the practicalities of policy-making to the analogy with Ebola.

The lecture was followed by a drinks reception in the Old Library and dinner in the College Hall.

Video footage of the various talks will soon be made available through Vimeo.

Photo credit: Nigel Luckhurst