Huge problems of energy and sustainability confront the science/engineering community and mankind and our planet. This
overview will stress the nature of the problems, and a few areas where theoretical chemistry can make substantial contributions to solving these problems. The energy problem comes in many dimensions, including supply, demand, conservation, transportation, and storage. Some remarks will be made on excitons in solar cells and on advanced batteries.
Mark Ratner is Morrison Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NU. Ratner is interested in structure and function at the nanoscale, and the theory of fundamental chemical processes. He tries to bring together structure and function in molecular nanostructures, based on theoretical notions, on exemplary calculations, and (very importantly) on collaborations with experimentalists and other theorists, in the US and around the world. Some areas of interest are molecular electronics, electron transfer, self-assembly, nonlinear response in molecules, and theories of quantum dynamics. In the interstices, he spends as much time trout fishing as he possibly can. Ratner is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences. He has received the Langmuir Award from the American Chemical Society and the Feynman Award from the Foresight Institute. He also has also been a member of the Faculty Teaching Honor Roll at Northwestern eleven times, and has taught roughly five thousand students in General Chemistry in the last dozen years. He received his BA and PhD from Harvard and NU, respectively.