Princeton’s Andlinger Center director Emily Carter was in Bremen, Germany, earlier this week to receive an award from the

German Chemical Society. The plenary lecture she gave associated with the award ceremony was boldly titled “How Quantum Mechanics Can Help Solve the World’s Energy Problems.”

In the video above, Carter explains that her work in quantum mechanics has a wide range of implications for the field of energy: optimizing protective ceramic coatings for jet turbine engines, understanding the thermochemistry and kinetics involved in burning new biofuels, studying the mechanical properties of lightweight alloys to lighten the weight of vehicles, and improving solar energy and fuel cells.

Carter said she felt that anyone who has the expertise to contribute to solving the world’s energy problems should be doing so.

“It is such a daunting task,” she said. “There is plenty of room to do beautiful basic science but also to have a real impact on the world.”

By the way, Carter was quoted by The New York Times in June in a story about the United States falling behind in the business of “green.” Here’s the link in case you missed it.