Astro Teller, captain of Moonshots, X, currently oversees Alphabet's moonshot factory for building magical, audaciously impactful ideas that through science and technology can be brought to reality. Before joining Google / Alphabet, Astro was co-founding CEO of Cerebellum Capital, Inc., an investment management firm whose investments are continuously designed, executed and improved by a software system based on techniques from statistical machine learning. Teller also was co-founding CEO of BodyMedia, Inc., a leading developer of wearable, body-monitoring systems, and co-founder and CEO of SANDbOX AD, an advanced development technology incubator. He taught at Stanford University and was an engineer and researcher for Phoenix Laser Technologies, Stanford's Center for Integrated Systems, and The Carnegie Group Incorporated. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in symbolic and heuristic computation from Stanford,, and a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a recipient of the Hertz Fellowship. Though his work as a scientist, inventor and entrepreneur, Teller holds many U.S. and international patents related to his work in hardware and software technology. He also is a successful novelist and screenwriter.
Brooke Runnette, National Geographic Society’s executive vice president and chief exploration and impact officer, leads the society’s impact agenda to empower world-changing science, exploration, and education; captivate and inspire global citizens; and advance solutions to sustain our planet for generations to come. She is responsible for all grant-making across the global nonprofit in the areas of science, exploration, storytelling, and education as well as the society’s signature programs, including National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, the Okavango Wilderness Project, and the Out of Eden Walk, among others. She also has oversight of the society’s Committee for Research and Exploration and efforts to attract and cultivate explorers. Prior to assuming her current role, Runnette spent her career focused on using the power of media for education and social good. She was previously president of National Geographic Studios, where she was responsible for all television, film, and digital video production for the National Geographic Society. Before heading National Geographic Studios, Runnette was president of National Geographic Television, served as an executive producer and director of development for special projects at Discovery Channel, and had a long career in broadcast journalism. She was a producer for ABC News’ “Nightline” with Ted Koppel from 2002 to 2006 and previously produced for “Frontline,” CBS’s “60 Minutes II,” and for Peter Jennings at ABC News, among others. Her many honors include Emmy and Peabody awards. She graduated from Yale University with an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in special programs in the humanities.
Costa Samaras is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. His research spans energy, climate change, infrastructure and defense analysis, and he teaches courses on energy analysis and climate adaptation for infrastructure. He has published studies examining electric and autonomous vehicles, infrastructure adaptation and energy transitions, and was one of the lead authors of the American Society of Civil Engineers book “Adapting Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Practice to a Changing Climate.” Samaras directs the Center for Engineering and Resilience for Climate Adaptation, is an affiliated faculty member in both the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and the Energy Science, Technology and Policy program, and is an adjunct senior researcher at the RAND Corporation. He served on a National Academies Committee evaluating the Department of Energy's research portfolio, and serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate. He previously was a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation and an engineer for Parsons Brinckerhoff. Samaras received a joint Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon, a master’s degree in public policy from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University.
Dawn Lippert is co-founder and director of Energy Excelerator, a program that funds innovative startups to create a 100 percent clean energy future, starting in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific. Energy Excelerator invests in energy, water, transportation, agriculture and cybersecurity companies (up to $1 million per company) and opens up a world-class network of investors and customers. The program is a nonprofit/for profit hybrid funded by $40 million from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and private investors. Lippert serves as the appointed chair of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative Advisory Board, a statewide board formed by the DOE and the State of Hawaii and tasked with structuring and implementing the state's energy transformation. She serves on the boards of Women in Renewable Energy, the Clean Energy Incubator Network, the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship and the YWCA of Oahu. She also is a 2015 Omidyar Fellow and the 2015 recipient of the DOE C3E Award for Leadership in Advocacy. Previously, Lippert was a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton’s alternative energy team in Washington, D.C. She also has worked on clean energy and environmental projects in India, Africa and Latin America. She holds two degrees from Yale University, a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s degree from the School of Forestry and Environmental Management.
Dawn Wright is chief scientist of Esri. She reports directly to the CEO with a mandate to strengthen the scientific foundation for Esri software and services, while representing Esri to the national and international scientific community. Wright also maintains an affiliated faculty appointment in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, where she was a professor of geography and oceanography for 17 years. Her research expertise includes seafloor mapping and tectonics, ocean conservation, environmental informatics and ethics in information technology. Wright has served on advisory boards for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies, Conservation International, and COMPASS Science Communication Inc., in addition to many journal editorial boards. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America, as well as a fellow of Stanford University's Leopold Leadership program. She holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in physical geography and marine geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in oceanography from Texas A&M University, and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Wheaton College in Illinois.
Dawn Zimmer, mayor of the City of Hoboken, became the first woman elected to this city role in 2009. She has led Hoboken through the difficult days of rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and is implementing an integrated and comprehensive flood resiliency plan to protect the city from rising seas and stronger storms. Zimmer led the effort to secure $230 million for flood resiliency through the post-Sandy Rebuild by Design competition. Additionally, she has created and is implementing a green infrastructure strategic plan to address flooding that includes solutions such as rain gardens, bioswales, and new “resiliency parks.” In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and Sandia National Labs, Zimmer is building the foundation for a microgrid to improve energy resiliency. She is an outspoken advocate for changing federal and state regulations related to flood insurance, increasing reconstruction funding, and improving building standards in order to meet the unique challenges and characteristics of urban communities. Zimmer has served on President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and is currently a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
Etosha Cave is co-founder and chief science officer at Opus 12, a startup bringing electrification to the chemicals industry on Earth, and someday on Mars. Opus 12 has received various grants from the Department of Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation for its work. For the past two years, Cave has been part of the first cohort of innovators at Cyclotron Road, a groundbreaking energy innovation program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Cave received her Ph.D. from Stanford University, where she gained the foundational knowledge for this technology. In 2015, Cave was a TedX Stanford speaker and the winner of the 2015 Cool Companies Competition at the Fortune Brainstorm E Conference. Before attending Stanford, she worked in Antarctica at the McMurdo Research Station and hopes to return to the continent someday to stay the winter. Cave graduated from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in 2006 as a member of its first graduating class. She is a 2016 Echoing Green Fellow.
Jed Sundwall leads the global open data practice at Amazon Web Services, which helps explore ways the AWS cloud can make data easier to discover, access and use. Before joining Amazon Web Services, he created Measured Voice, a software company that combined user interface design and data analysis to help governments manage social media operations. He also founded Open San Diego, a civic technology advocacy group that was instrumental in the creation of San Diego’s open data policy. He is a member of the Landsat Advisory Group and has a master’s degree in public & international affairs from the University of California in San Diego.
Jeffrey Carney is director of the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS) and associate professor in the LSU School of Architecture. He received his bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and master’s degrees in architecture and city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Carney’s work in Louisiana centers on leading trans-disciplinary coastal and delta design and research efforts. He led a multi-year HUD-sponsored project called the Louisiana Resiliency Assistance Program; administers workshops for the Louisiana Community Resilience Institute and associated Mayors’ Workshops; and was a team leader for “The Giving Delta,” an award-winning submission for the international Changing Course Design Competition that reimagined ways of living and working on Louisiana’s dynamic delta coast. Carney is currently leading the design and development of the science- and engineering-informed exhibition space called “Shifting Foundations” within the LSU Center for River Studies. For this project, commissioned by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, CSS faculty, research fellows and students are producing a range of visualization tools to animate a 9,000 square-foot exhibition space. The project communicates to stakeholders Louisiana’s coastal and delta history, current challenges and dramatic efforts to proactively develop a more resilient coast.
John P. Holdren is assistant to the president for science and technology, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). He previously was the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, professor in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center. At the University of California, Berkeley, he co-founded in 1973 and co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate-degree program in energy and resources. During the Clinton administration Holdren served as a member of PCAST through both terms and in that capacity chaired studies on preventing theft of nuclear materials, disposition of surplus weapon plutonium, the prospects of fusion energy, U.S. energy R&D strategy and international cooperation on energy-technology innovation. He holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from MIT and Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on the MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Trustees, as chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control, and as co-chair of the independent, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy. His awards include a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the John Heinz Prize in Public Policy, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Volvo Environment Prize. In December 1995, he gave the acceptance lecture for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization of scientists and public figures.
Laur Hesse Fisher is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence, where she manages Climate CoLab, a project that explores how new digital technologies can help harness the collective intelligence of thousands of people to help address large societal problems, starting with climate change. The project involves a quickly growing community of more than 75,000 people around the world who use Climate CoLab’s online platform. The platform allows anyone with an Internet connection to work with world-renowned experts and knowledgeable others to develop detailed proposals for how to address climate change. Fisher has worked for various municipalities, startups, and nonprofit organizations in a wide range of fields related to climate change, including carbon management and reporting, municipal recycling, renewable energy, community engagement, green buildings and education. She is an American citizen, and also has worked in Canada, Sweden and New Zealand. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a self-designed degree, titled "Engaging Sustainability as an Innovative Process.”
Mike Doyle is the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District, including the City of Pittsburgh and nearby communities in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. Doyle serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over energy and environmental policies. He has worked to protect the environment, create clean energy jobs in the United States, and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports. His top priorities in this field have been increasing federal research on alternative and renewable fuels, cleaner use of fossil fuels and new power generation technologies. He also has been a leader of legislative efforts to promote greener, more energy-efficient appliances, automobiles and buildings. Doyle helped draft legislation to substantially reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and remains committed to enacting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the transition to a sustainable economy. Throughout his service in Congress, Doyle also has worked to enact legislation to promote the clean-up and redevelopment of vacant, often polluted industrial brownfield sites. He has worked to help expand southwestern Pennsylvania’s energy innovation sector, and led the effort to transform a vacant Pittsburgh trade school into a LEED-certified center for developing clean energy technology and training workers for clean energy jobs.
Peidong Yang is a chemistry professor and the S. K. and Angela Chan Distinguished Chair Professor in Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior faculty scientist at Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Yang is known particularly for his work on semiconductor nanowires and their photonic and energy applications including artificial photosynthesis. He is director for California Research Alliance by BASF and one of the co-directors for the Kavli Energy Nanoscience Institute at Berkeley. Yang received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Science and Technology in China and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he joined the faculty at Berkeley. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the E. O. Lawrence Award, the ACS Nanoscience Award, the MRS Medal, the Baekeland Medal, an Alfred P. Sloan research fellowship, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, the MRS Young Investigator Award, the Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics, the ACS Pure Chemistry Award and the Alan T. Waterman Award.