The J. Mark Sower Distinguished Lecture Series in the College of Science at Virginia Tech enables the college to host a series of lectures designed to be a forum to exchange new and innovative ideas in scientific fields. Generously supported by J. Mark Sowers, this series provides opportunities for the university community and general public to interact with and learn from eminent scholars and industry experts with experience in academia, science, business, government, and medicine, among other fields. 

All talks are free and open to the public.

2017 Speakers

'Solar Steam Generation and Applications'

Naomi J. Halas

Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy

Founding Director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics

Director of the Rice Quantum Institute

Rice University

Naomi Halas

Dr. Halas’ lecture will focus on solar steam generation and applications. In this discovery by Halas, a class of nanoparticles can convert a broad spectrum of sunlight to instantly vaporize water and create steam. This efficient light-generated process can impact solar energy harvesting, with the goal of producing steam directly for off-grid uses throughout the world. This discovery is part of solar-powered sterilization technology, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this research, the heat and pressure created by the steam was sufficient to kill not only living microbes, but also viruses. “Sanitation technology isn’t glamorous, but it’s a matter of life and death for 2.5 billion people,” says Halas.


February 23, 2017
7:30 PM


Quillen Family Auditorium,
190 Goodwin Hall - Virginia Tech
635 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, VA

For more information:

Contact Katie Lafon,
Director of Alumni Relations for the College of Science


Download the Flyer

Naomi Halas


Arthur B. McDonald

Nobel Laureate, Queen's University

Arthur B. McDonald


Nigel D. Goldenfeld

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Nigel D. Goldenfeld


J. David Sweatt

Vanderbilt University