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How-to of using electric power from space will highlight talk at NJIT

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Imagine beaming electric power from space as a viable solar energy option. Engineer and researcher Martin Hoffert, will discuss this theory further in a free lecture, open to the public, on Nov. 4, 2009 at NJIT, from 3-4:30 p.m. in the NJIT Campus Center Ballroom. The NJIT Campus Center is located at Central Ave. and Summit St. Parking is available on the street.

The practical application of this concept, Hoffert maintains, could be markedly accelerated by experiments feasible now ― some employing the International Space Station and including orbital mirrors and microwave and laser beaming in space. Economies of scale from commercialization would also help to make solar electricity from orbit a feasible addition to the mix of renewable energy alternatives.

Hoffert has been on the research staff of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, General Applied Science Laboratories, Advanced Technology Laboratories and Riverside Research Institute. He has been a National Academy of Sciences Senior Resident Research Associate at the NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Widely published, he has written about fluid mechanics, plasma physics, atmospheric science, oceanography, planetary atmospheres, environmental science, and solar and wind energy conversion. His work in geophysics focused on developing theoretical models of atmospheres and oceans to address environmental issues, including the ocean/climate model first employed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to assess how the use of fossil fuels contributes to global warming.

Hoffert has a BS in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan, and MS and PhD degrees in astronautics from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now the Polytechnic Institute of New York). He also has an MA in liberal studies from the New School for Social Research, where he did graduate work in sociology and economics. His research in alternate energy conversion encompasses wind-tunnel and full-scale experimentation with wind turbines and photovoltaic generation of hydrogen, as well as wireless power transmission applicable to solar-power satellites.

The talk is the second of the year sponsored by the NJIT Technology and Society Forum, an annual lecture series. Last month Dickson D. Despommier, a professor of environmental health sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, discussed his theories about vertical farming. He believes that vertical urban farms, built on the floors of existing buildings, could help repair many of the world's damaged ecosystems and moderate global climate change.


Contact Jay Kappraff, (973-596-3490) or please visit for more information. Event co-sponsors are the NJIT Technology and Society Forum Committee, Albert Dorman Honors College and Sigma Xi.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, at the edge in knowledge, enrolls more than 8,400 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 92 degree programs offered by six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. NJIT is renowned for expertise in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. In 2009, Princeton Review named NJIT among the nation's top 25 campuses for technology and among the top 150 for best value. U.S. News & World Report's 2008 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities.

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