Brumley D. Pritchett Lecture Attracts Record Numbers

On Monday, November 6, Peidong Yang, S.K. Angela Chan Distinguished Professor of Energy, Department of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley presented the 2017 Brumley D. Pritchett Lecture to a packed house. Attendees included students and faculty from across campus, as well as representatives from a number of different industries. 

His presentation, “CO2 + H2O + Sunlight = Chemical Fuels + O2,” addressed the challenges associated with fixing CO2 through traditional chemical catalytic means, contrasted with the advantages and strategies that biology employs through enzymatic catalysts to produce more complex molecules at higher selectivity and efficiency. He then discussed a number of different photosynthetic biohybrid systems (PBS) architectures from the last few years, and the numerous strategies to interface biotic and abiotic components. Each demonstrated the advantages of PBSs in converting sunlight, H2O and CO2 into food, fuels, pharmaceuticals, and materials. Finally, he outlined the future of this field, opportunities for improvement, and its role in sustainable living here on Earth, and beyond.

Brumley D. Pritchett, for whom the annual lecture series is named, received his B.S. from Georgia Tech in Textile Engineering in 1930, graduating with an award for superior achievement in his major.  While at GT, he was instrumental in the founding of the Phi Psi Textile Honors Fraternity and was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa.  After graduation, he worked briefly with Dundee Mills before assuming management duties at Eagle and Phoenix Mills in Columbus, GA.  He joined the Army in 1940 and served in the Pacific during World War II.  Upon leaving the Army with the ranking of Colonel, he returned to Eagle and Phoenix Mills as a superintendent.  Later, he joined Steel Heddle Manufacturing Company as a sales engineer and consultant, retiring in 1972.  He was elected to membership in the CoE's Hall of Fame in 2002.