President Bush Names FAS Board Member Arthur H. Rosenfeld 2005 Enrico Fermi Award Winner 

Friday, April 28, 2006

Washington DC - April 28

President Bush named Arthur H. Rosenfeld as the winner of the Enrico Fermi Award, the government's oldest award for scientific achievement. The presidential award carries an honorarium of $375,000 and a gold medal.

Dr. Rosenfeld, 79, is a Commissioner at the California Energy Commission, where he serves as chairman of the Research and Development Committee and as second member of the Energy Efficiency Committee. He is also a member of the FAS Board of Directors. He will receive the award for a career spanning fundamental discoveries in particle physics through pioneering innovations in efficient use of energy.

"Dr. Rosenfeld's career provides an example of the breadth of science -- from the fundamental to the practical -- that the Department of Energy supports," said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman on behalf of the President. "Dr. Rosenfeld is one of the 'founding fathers' of energy efficiency, and the legacy of his research and policy work is an entire new energy efficiency sector of our economy, which now yields an astounding annual savings of around $100 billion, and growing." The Department of Energy administers the Fermi Award for the White House.

In 1973, Rosenfeld recognized the potential for energy savings in the building sector, which uses one third of U.S. primary energy and two-thirds of our electricity. In 1975, he founded a program which grew into the Center for Building Science at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). There he brought together a multi-disciplinary group of researchers with basic science backgrounds. The Center developed a broad range of energy efficiency technologies, including electronic ballasts for fluorescent lighting, a key component of compact fluorescent lamps; and low-emissivity windows, a coating for glass that allows light in but blocks heat from either entering (summer) or escaping (winter).

Rosenfeld was personally responsible for developing DOE-2, a computer program for building energy analysis and design that was incorporated in California's Building Code in 1978. These codes have served as models for the nation, copied by Florida and Massachusetts, and other states are beginning to adopt them as well. DOE-2 is used to calculate codes and guidelines for energy efficient new buildings in China and many other countries.

The U.S. National Research Council (NRC) has estimated that energy efficiency improvements developed solely at the Department of Energy's National Laboratories, saved the U.S $30 billion between 1978 and 2000, with electronic ballasts contributing $15 billion and low-emissivity windows contributing $8 billion, a combined three-fourths of the total savings. The NRC also acknowledged the contributions of DOE-2, then used in an estimated 15 percent of all commercial construction in the U.S., which has yielded average energy savings of 22 percent compared to designs made without this program.

Since joining the California Energy Commission in 2000, Rosenfeld has been implementing the demand-side technology and incentives he advocated for the previous 30 years. For example, working with the California Public Utilities Commission, he has instituted time-dependent prices for electricity, that is, prices which are lower most of the time but higher at peak times, and "smart meters" to record electric use hour-by-hour. Rosenfeld has also championed utilities' funding and creative use of rebates to encourage purchase of efficient products.

Today experts will speak at a day-long symposium honoring the energy efficiency pioneer on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The event will focus on how Rosenfeld's energy policy has kept California ahead of the global warming curve. Since 1975, when Rosenfeld redirected his attention to the study of "demand-side management of energy," California's per capita use of electricity has remained flat, while in the rest of the country, electricity use per person has increased 60 percent.

The sessions will also highlight how increased energy efficiency on a global scale can stave off natural calamities; the intersection of energy and safe drinking water in the developing world; the twin challenges of mitigating climate change and sustaining orderly markets in fluid fuels; how to turn good science into good politics; and defining and coping with global warming.

The agenda is available here.

The event Webcast can be found at:


The Hewlett Foundation, The Energy Foundation, UC Berkeley Institute of the Environment, UC Physics Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Energy Resources Group, California Energy Commission, and the California Public Utilities Commission.


Rosenfeld, 79, has served on the California Energy Commission since April 2000 when he was appointed by Governor Gray Davis. In January 2005, he was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He serves as the Chair of the Research and Development Committee and as second member of the Energy Efficiency Committee. Rosenfeld received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1954 at the University of Chicago and was Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi's last graduate student. In 1955, Rosenfeld joined the physics group led by Nobel Laureate Luis Alvarez at the University of California, Berkeley. During the next 18 years, he was a key developer of bubble chamber physics, particularly the hardware and software for photographing, measuring and analyzing data. From 1974 to 1994 formed and directed the Center for Building Science focusing on the new field of energy efficiency. From 1994 to 1999, Rosenfeld was senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Rosenfeld received the Szilard Award for Physics in the Public Interest in 1986 and the Carnot Award for Energy Efficiency from the U.S. Department of Energy in 1993. He is the co-founder of the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), the University of California's Institute for Energy Efficiency (CIEE), and the Washington-based Center for Energy and Climate Solutions (CECS). He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). A full biography about and papers by Dr. Rosenfeld can be found at:

The Fermi Award, which dates to 1956, honors the memory of Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, leader of the group of scientists, who, on December 2, 1942, achieved the first self-sustained, controlled nuclear reaction. Among the first recipients were physicists John von Neumann, Ernest O. Lawrence, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer. The award was given most recently in 2003 to the late John N. Bahcall, and to Raymond Davis, Jr., and Seymour Sack.

Additional information about the Fermi Award is available at

Dr. Rosenfeld will receive the Fermi Award at a ceremony on June 21 in Washington, D.C.

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