Professor Robert B. Laughlin, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in physics, inspired more than 2000 students and professors at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) on Thursday, January 18 as part of the Honeywell Initiative for Science & Engineering (HISE).

Sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions, HISE is the company’s corporate citizenship initiative cum premier global educational programme that aims to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through multiple interactions with Nobel laureates and Honeywell technologists.

For more than a decade, it has benefited thousands of students and teachers at top universities in China, Czech Republic, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Romania and the United States.

Laughlin received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations. His discovery opened a new chapter in condensed matter physics.

“This is the second time Honeywell brought a Nobel laureate speaker to Malaysia as the first ever HISE presentation was held in the University of Malaya back in 2010. We hope his lecture will inspire students to find passion and help them see their career possibilities in STEM,” Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim bin Abdul Mutalib, acting vice chancellor and chief executive officer of UTP said.

“Honeywell understands the power of the connected world. As a cyber-industrial company with more than 22,000 engineers located in 70 countries, Honeywell technologies help the world become more connected, smarter, safer and more sustainable,” Briand Greer, president of Honeywell ASEAN stated. Having a strong corporate citizenship presence in Malaysia, Honeywell also invites middle school science and math teachers to the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy while high school students to the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy, both held at the US Space & Rocket Centre.

Laughlin presented a lecture on his research of the Brayton Battery in which a thermal heat-pump grid storage technology was described based on closed-cycle Brayton engine transfers of heat from a cryogenic storage fluid to molten solar salt. Found to be competitive with that of pumped hydroelectric storage, its cost were estimated based on the present-day prices of power gas turbines and market prices of steel and nitrate salt. Comparison was also made with electrochemical and mechanical grid storage technologies.

Mei Kuan