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City of Woodland News

Posted on: January 11, 2022

Science & Society Discussion: A Brief History of Transportation & a Look to the Future

The Woodland Public Library invites you to a Thursday evening discussion with UC Davis Professor Paul Erickson titled “A Brief History of Transportation and a Look to the Future.” This event is the latest installment in the Public Library’s Science and Society Discussion Series.

Energy use, fuels, and machines enable modern society to safely, quickly, reliably, and inexpensively transport both goods and people. While imperfect, modern transportation systems are nothing short of miracles of engineering. As transportation systems continue to evolve and change, it is wise to consider the energy pathways of the past, where transportation energy comes from, and where it might be going. In this presentation, Professor Erickson will review the past and preview a future where fast, safe, reliable, cheap, and environmentally-friendly transportation might be available to all. The discussion ranges from technical to historical, from autonomous vehicles to hydrogen fuel cells, from modern aircraft engines to the Wright brothers, from human folly to our amazing capacity to predict, and from coal to politics, battles, and world wars. 

Professor Paul Erickson of the University of California, Davis is a specialist in thermal science and renewable power technology. He has pioneered efforts to enhance heat and mass transfer in reacting flows by flow impingement and disturbance techniques and has experience in both theoretical and applied energy research. He currently directs the UC Davis Energy Research Laboratory where he and his research team strive to advance the body of knowledge regarding energy conversion from primary energy sources, gas to liquid technologies, endothermic fuels, and the utilization of novel fuels in both combustion and electrochemical systems. Professor Erickson received his BS and MS degrees from Brigham Young University and his PhD from the University of Florida. As a Professor and tenured member of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering faculty at UC Davis, Professor Erickson both performs research and regularly teaches courses in thermodynamics, advanced energy conversion, and instrumentation and transportation technology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He occasionally performs engineering consulting work in the field of energy conversion for both industry and governments around the world.  He is a devoted husband and father of six children and enjoys photography, backpacking, bicycling, rock climbing, canyoneering, and the sport of fencing.

Zoom Info

This event will occur virtually via Zoom at 7:00 PM Pacific Time on January 20.


Meeting ID: 884 7858 0965

Passcode: 389784

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Meeting ID: 884 7858 0965

Passcode: 389784

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About the Science and Society Discussion Series

The Science and Society Discussion Series is a forum hosted by the Woodland Public Library where the public and experts from different fields come together to discuss complex, controversial issues at the intersection of scientific knowledge and civic life that illustrate the challenges for public policymaking. 

The sessions provide opportunities for the public and those engaged in research and policymaking to share ideas and concerns. We hope such public discussions will become models for polite and meaningful engagement of participants with differing points of view and that they will increase understanding of the issues and contribute to more informed development of future public policies.

All are welcome to attend and we encourage an open dialogue on all the topics presented. For more information about the Science and Society Discussion Series, contact the library at or 530-661-5980.

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