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Physics, Fracking, Fuel and the Future

Physics, Fracking, Fuel and the Future

​Physicists have a vital role to play in shaping the future of energy production and consumption, says Michael Marder, professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin, in the cover story of Physics Today​.

Fracking, a technology which has accounted for a sharp increase in the United States' oil production since 2008, provides a case study of how physicists were able to use their unique skill sets and work in an interdisciplinary context to help create models of the future production capacity of natural gas in the US. The story, while providing an insightful view of energy modeling past and future, is also a broader invocation for more interdisciplinary research, saying: 

In today's environment it is tempting for research physicists to work on problems that are cute or pretty and complacently address broader impacts only through lip service. We can and should do better. Physicists have plenty to contribute to issues of energy, education, and more.

The authors argue effusively that, despite the difficulty of working on areas in which other people are specialized, working together will yield nontrivial and interesting results; results which, in the case of oil production, could revolutionize how we conceptualize our energy future. 

The story was published jointly by Michael Marder, professor of physics in the center for Nonlinear Dynamics of the University of Texas at Austin, Scott Tinker, of the Jackson School of Geosciences at UT Austin, and Tadeusz Patzek, of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. To read the whole story click below: 

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Comments 1

Guest - Jonathan Streich on Wednesday, 03 August 2016 13:37

So, is fracking dangerous or not?

So, is fracking dangerous or not?
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