Arun Majumdar

Senior Fellow
Biography: 

Dr. Arun Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Provostial Chair Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy), and senior fellow and former director of the Precourt Institute for Energy. He is also on faculty in the Department of Photon Science at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

In October 2009, Majumdar was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to become the founding director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), where he served till June 2012 and helped ARPA-E become a model of excellence and innovation for the government with bipartisan support from Congress and other stakeholders. Between March 2011 and June 2012, he also served as the acting under secretary of energy, enabling the portfolio that reported to him: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability, the Office of Nuclear Energy, and the Office of Fossil Energy, as well as multiple cross-cutting efforts such as Sunshot, Grid Tech Team, and others that he had initiated. Furthermore, he was a senior advisor to the secretary of energy, Dr. Steven Chu, on a variety of matters related to management, personnel, budget, and policy. In 2010, he served on Secretary Chu's Science Team to help stop the leak of the Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill.

After leaving Washington, DC, and before joining Stanford, Majumdar was the vice president for energy at Google, where he assembled a team to create technologies and businesses at the intersection of data, computing, and the electricity grid.

Majumdar is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research in the past has involved the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport, and storage as well as biomolecular analysis. His current research focuses on redox reactions and systems that are fundamental to a sustainable energy future, multidimensional nanoscale imaging and microscopy, and an effort to leverage modern AI techniques to develop and deliver energy and climate solutions.

Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Majumdar was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at University of California–Berkeley and the associate laboratory director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He spent the early part of his academic career at Arizona State University and University of California–Santa Barbara.

Majumdar served as the vice chair of the Advisory Board of US secretary of energy Dr. Ernest Moniz and was also a science envoy for the US Department of State with focus on energy and technology innovation in the Baltics and Poland. He also serves on numerous advisory boards and boards of businesses, investment groups and nonprofit organizations

Majumdar received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 1985 and his PhD from the University of California–Berkeley in 1989.

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Energy Innovation Needs New Private-Sector Push

by Arun Majumdar, John Deutch, Norman Augustine, George P. Shultzvia Bloomberg
Thursday, February 11, 2016

Two months after the end of the Paris climate summit, it seems natural to ask: What are the next steps? Do we need to do more?