Vaclav Smil

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Michael Cembalest, Chairman of Market and Investment Strategy at J.P. Morgan, Published Our Annual Energy Reality Check

For the last few years, we have written an annual piece on energy. In doing so, we have worked with Vaclav Smil from the University of Manitoba (see biography below). In a recent article in Scientific American, Vaclav provided a rough road map for what the arc of renewable energy use might look like. The […]

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Bill Gates reviews Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization

The car I drive to work is made of around 2,600 pounds of steel, 800 pounds of plastic, and 400 pounds of light metal alloys. The trip from my house to the office is roughly four miles long, all surface streets, which means I travel over some 15,000 tons of concrete each morning. Once I’m at the […]

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Bill Gates talks to Quartz on Poverty, GMOs, Microsoft and Vaclav Smil’s Latest Books

Vaclav Smil keeps turning out amazing books. Making the Modern World, I just finished, and it’s pretty fantastic. It’s about this idea that we are still using more materials per person, even as advanced economies, though people talk about the dematerialization of steel, the amount of concrete, and other minerals. It’s classic Smil: really explaining how […]

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Clive Thompson interview in WIRED Magazine

“There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil,” Bill Gates wrote this summer. That’s quite an endorsement — and it gave a jolt of fame to Smil, a professor emeritus of environment and geography at the University of Manitoba. In a world of specialized intellectuals, Smil is an ambitious […]

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The last of my 2013 books — Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization – has been published by John Wiley

  How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of […]

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Michael Cembalest, Chairman of Market and Investment Strategy at J.P. Morgan, Published Our Annual Energy Reality Check

While the world has become more energy efficient, it still uses a lot of energy to grow (twice as much as in the 1970s), and most of it based on fossil fuels. Perhaps even more than fiscal policy, energy issues create a lot of debate. Some developed countries have been restricting coal, while others have […]

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Just Published – Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing

“There’s no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil. With his vast knowledge of science and energy, history and business, he brings new insights to every topic he examines.” — Bill Gates “Another irreplaceable entry in Smil’s chronicling of the modern world. If anyone needs help understanding why making ‘things’ still […]

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Bill Gates Posts His Multi-Media Review of Harvesting the Biosphere

“In Harvesting the Biosphere, Smil gives as clear and as numeric a picture as is possible of how humans have altered the biosphere. The book is a bit dry and I had to look up a number of terms that were unfamiliar to me, but it tells a critical story. “Smil starts with a big […]

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Vaclav Smil Appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada

On June 28 His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, appointed Vaclav Smil as a Member of the Order of Canada. Vaclav Smil is a renowned expert on global energy issues. A professor emeritus in the faculty of environment at the University of Manitoba, he provides critical insights into energy development, […]

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Do Insects Weigh More Than Us?

In the latest issue of Intelligent Life Oliver Morton, the briefings editor of The Economist, writes about insects, Vaclav Smil and the uncertainty in science. See the Article

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