April 27, 2006
President Bush Names Arthur Rosenfeld the 2005 Enrico Fermi Award Winner
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that President Bush named Arthur H. Rosenfeld as the winner of the Enrico Fermi Award, the government’s oldest award for scientific achievement. The presidential award carries an honorarium of $375,000 and a gold medal. DOE administers the Fermi Award on behalf of the White House.
“Dr. Rosenfeld’s career provides an example of the breadth of science -- from the fundamental to the practical -- that the Department of Energy supports,” Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. “Dr. Rosenfeld is one of the 'founding fathers' of energy efficiency, and the legacy of his research and policy work is an entire new energy efficiency sector of our economy, which now yields an astounding annual savings of around $100 billion, and growing.”
Dr. Rosenfeld, 79, is a Commissioner at the California Energy Commission, where he serves as chairman of the Research and Development Committee and as the second member of the Energy Efficiency Committee. He will receive the Fermi award in recognition of a career of scientific discoveries in particle physics, pioneering innovations for the efficient use of energy.
Rosenfeld received his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1954 and was Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi’s last graduate student. In 1955, Dr. Rosenfeld joined the physics group led by Nobel Laureate Luis Alvarez at the University of California, Berkeley. During the next 18 years, he was a key developer of bubble chamber physics, particularly the hardware and software for photographing, measuring and analyzing data.
In 1973, when OPEC embargoed oil sales to the West, Dr. Rosenfeld redirected his career. He recognized the potential for energy savings in the building sector, which uses one third of U.S. primary energy and two-thirds of our electricity. In 1975, he founded a program which grew into the Center for Building Science at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There he brought together a multi-disciplinary group of researchers with basic science backgrounds. The Center developed a broad range of energy efficiency technologies, including electronic ballasts for fluorescent lighting, a key component of compact fluorescent lamps; and low-emissivity windows, a coating for glass that allows light in but blocks heat from either entering (summer) or escaping (winter). Dr. Rosenfeld was personally responsible for developing DOE-2, a computer program for building energy analysis and design that was incorporated in California’s Building Code in 1978. These codes have served as models for the nation, copied by Florida and Massachusetts, and other states are beginning to adopt them as well. DOE-2 is used to calculate codes and guidelines for energy efficient new buildings in China and many other countries.
The U.S. National Research Council (NRC) has estimated that energy efficiency improvements developed solely at DOE’s National Laboratories, saved the U.S. $30 billion between 1978 and 2000, with electronic ballasts contributing $15 billion and low-emissivity windows contributing $8 billion, a combined three-fourths of the total savings. The NRC also acknowledged the contributions of DOE-2, then used in an estimated 15 percent of all commercial construction in the U.S., which has yielded average energy savings of 22 percent compared to designs made without this program.
From 1994 to 1999, Rosenfeld was senior advisor to DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Since joining the California Energy Commission in 2000, Rosenfeld has been implementing the demand-side technology and incentives he advocated for the previous 30 years. For example, working with the California Public Utilities Commission, he has instituted time-dependent prices for electricity, that is, prices which are lower most of the time but higher at peak times, and “smart meters” to record electric use hour-by-hour. Rosenfeld has also championed utilities’ funding and creative use of rebates to encourage purchase of efficient products.
Dr. Rosenfeld will receive the Fermi Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., at a date to be announced.
The Fermi Award, which dates to 1956, honors the memory of Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, leader of the group of scientists, who, on December 2, 1942, achieved the first self-sustained, controlled nuclear reaction. Among the first recipients were physicists John von Neumann, Ernest O. Lawrence, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer. The award was given most recently in 2003 to the late John N. Bahcall, and to Raymond Davis, Jr., and Seymour Sack.
Additional information about the Fermi Award is available at /fermi/
Additional biographical information about Dr. Rosenfeld is available at http://www.energy.ca.gov/commission/commissioners/rosenfeld.html