America’s energy solutions: McCaskill turns to WUSTL for help

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (center) made Washington University in St. Louis a key stop on her statewide Hometown Energy Tour that focused on finding “practical, accessible and affordable” solutions to the nation’s energy needs. McCaskill met with WUSTL administrators and scientists and regional energy industry leaders Jan. 9 in Brauer Hall. Tremendous pressure exists on Capitol Hill, McCaskill said, to cut federal funding for science. “Most people don’t realize what the Department of Energy does,” she said, “which is why they’re in favor of killing it.” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton (left) said “the federal government could make no better investment than in research.” Ralph S. Quatrano, PhD, dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science (second from right), said that if funding for science were cut “you’d also be cutting the next generation of scientists and engineers.” After the discussion, McCaskill toured the Ultrafast Laser Facility, part of WUSTL’s Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center (PARC), established with a $20 million research award from the Department of Energy in 2009 to do research on novel energy initiatives. PARC comes under the umbrella of WUSTL’s International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES).