Konarka’s Founder and Nobel Laureate Receives 2005 POPULAR MECHANICS Breakthrough Award
Lowell, Mass. – October 11, 2005 – Konarka Technologies, Inc., an innovator in developing and commercializing PowerPlastic® that converts light to energy, today announced the Company’s co-founder and chief scientist, Dr. Alan Heeger, is a recipient of the 2005 POPULAR MECHANICS Breakthrough Award for his work with polymer photovoltaics.
POPULAR MECHANICS, one of the largest and most trusted men’s monthly magazines reaching nine million readers, established the Breakthrough Awards to recognize 10 individuals and teams who are helping to improve lives and expand possibilities in the realms of science, technology and exploration, as well as 10 consumer products that represent milestones in design and engineering. Those honored represent a diverse range of fields including robotics, medicine, aeronautics and chemistry. Their innovations promise to improve lives and increase understanding of the world.
“The Breakthrough Awards are about innovation and solving problems, and Dr. Heeger’s work hits both those notes,” said James Meigs, editor-in-chief, POPULAR MECHANICS. “The age of cheap oil is giving way to an era in which we need to rely on a range of energy sources, and we think solar energy will be a key part of that equation. Dr. Heeger’s innovation has the potential to make solar energy truly mainstream.”
Dr. Heeger is the winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for chemistry. He and his colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara, are pioneering researchers of polymers that conduct electricity. At Konarka, Dr. Heeger provides strategic vision for the development of the Company’s light-activated PowerPlastic technology. PowerPlastic is flexible, lightweight, lower in cost and more versatile in application than traditional silicon-based solar cells. It enables devices, systems and structures to have their own integrated sources of renewable power, combining energy generation and power consumption within in the same device.
“I am pleased and honored to receive this recognition of our work on solar cells made from semiconducting polymers,” said Dr. Heeger. “My dream is that our efforts will lead to low cost commercial solar cells that can make a significant contribution to solving our future energy problems.”
To select the award winners, the editors of POPULAR MECHANICScanvassed a wide range of experts and academics for worthy nominees. An advisory panel comprised of outstanding scientists, engineers, authors and innovators from a variety of fields then reviewed the nominations and voted on the final winners, along with the POPULAR MECHANICS’ editorial board. A special feature about the Breakthrough Awards will be published in the November 2005 issue of POPULAR MECHANICS, which hits newsstands October 11, 2005.
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