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The right spark
We Must Invest in Energy Innovation
In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Chad Holliday, former chairman and CEO of DuPont, and I contend that the U.S. government must invest in new, clean energy technologies that tackle climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Wired up about energy
Q&A on the World Energy Crisis
I was interviewed by Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson and some members of the audience at the Wired Business Conference in May 2011. The Q and A focused on the world energy crisis including technology, policy, and economics.
Energy Myths and Realities
Meeting the world’s energy needs while reducing our carbon footprint will require an honest assessment of the costs, capabilities and impacts of various energy sources.
For all that has been written lately about energy conservation, where energy comes from, how we use it, and how much CO2 gas it generates, it’s hard to gain a clear picture of the situation. A new book by David MacKay provides the framework people need to really understand this critical subject...
In a new book, Vaclav Smil explains the energy transitions that have driven social, economic and technological change worldwide over time. He also discusses the evolving shift from fossil fuels to renewables.
In China, Speeding Toward the Future
In September 2010, I traveled through China to visit with vaccine makers, computer scientists, energy technology companies and car manufacturers.
Speaking at the UW
Talking About the Future
With the convergence of major advances in computing hardware and software, technology is playing an increasingly important role in many aspects of society. In a speech at the University of Washington, I discussed important breakthroughs in computer science and engineering that have implications...
Keeping the pests out
A Simple Advance in Crop Storage Aids Poor Farmers in Africa
Cowpeas are a protein-rich crop that thrives in the harsh, arid climate of West and Central Africa. But poor farmers lost up to 50 percent of their crops to pests until researchers came up with a cheap way to store this important food staple.
Beyond fossil fuels
Podcast Series Energy and Climate Change
In these podcasts, I share my thoughts on the challenges of developing alternatives to fossil fuels and finding zero-carbon energy sources.
Energy storage is critical
We Need a Battery Miracle
I believe that creating large-scale batteries to store energy is a critical problem to solve if solar and wind energy are to become mainstream. In this video, MIT Professor Donald Sadoway and I discuss the importance of new battery storage technology and Sadoway’s focus on the development of a...
Emerging energy resources
An Energy Briefing with Daniel Yergin: Market Dynamics & Natural Gas
I’m interested in energy innovation as a way to protect the environment while also supplying the growing energy needs of poor countries so they can continue to develop. To better understand the forces shaping energy markets, I met with Daniel Yergin, a pre-eminent expert on the subject.
An expert's view
An Energy Briefing with Daniel Yergin: Understanding Energy Solutions
Energy innovation is critically important for economic growth – especially in poor countries – as well as for the Earth’s climate and environment. I recently had a chance to talk with Daniel Yergin, one of the world’s most respected analysts on energy issues.
Jumpstart for energy research
ARPA-E: A Good Beginning for U.S. Energy Innovation
ARPA-E is a new government agency that’s fast-tracking development of new clean energy technologies. Although I believe the federal government should invest even more in energy innovation, I think ARPA-E is off to a good start.
How the U.S. can lead
Calling for Energy Technology Innovation
I'm passionate about the importance of developing new, clean energy sources that are inexpensive and that avoid the negative effects of climate change. On June 10, I'll join other U.S. business leaders in recommending specific steps toward a new national commitment to innovation in energy techn...
Entrepreneurs Hold the Key to Solving Many Big Challenges
I recently had a chance to meet with about two-dozen startup companies working on truly breakthrough technologies. Not all will succeed, but many will, and that’s exciting because they’re going to help us tackle some big problems—like producing sustainable clean energy and nutritious food to fe...
Definitely worth a look
Important Books About Energy by Vaclav Smil
Vaclav Smil, a distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba, takes a broad interdisciplinary approach that combines a deep understanding of the environment, energy, food, population, economic and public policy studies, and more. He is the author of more than 25 books.
Making nuclear energy safe
Nuclear Energy After Fukushima
In a video broadcast to the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation, I discuss what governments and the private sector can do to increase the role of nuclear power in delivering safe, affordable, and clean energy to the world – and especially to the poor.
Looking forward to it
Talking About Energy at TED
At the 2010 annual TED Conference, some inspired thinkers are asked to give “the talk of their lives” – in 18 minutes. The good ones can change how we think about science, art, technology, and more. I was invited to give a talk about energy and climate change.
Going public on energy
Talking About Energy Miracles at TED
At this year’s TED Conference, I spoke about my belief that addressing climate change will require massive investments in innovation aimed at creating the “energy miracles” needed to develop zero-carbon energy sources.
Keep the switch on
The Energy Research Imperative
Over the past three decades, U.S. government funding for energy innovation has dropped significantly while other countries such as China, Germany, and Japan have dramatically stepped up their investments in clean energy technologies. The U.S. is uniquely positioned to lead in energy innovation,...
What About Wind?
Energy sources that provide power without producing CO2 are critical to addressing the challenge of global warming. The book Sustainable Energy – without the hot air prompted me to ask climate researcher Ken Caldeira what the prospects are for generating power from wind in the upper atmosphere.
Food and agriculture
2012 Annual Letter
My annual letter for 2012 focuses on food and agriculture, and the urgency of investing to end extreme poverty despite economic turmoil. I have good news but also a concern that continued progress could be threatened by global economic turmoil.
Let's keep talking
Annual Letter: Continuing the Conversation
In my annual letter and related events, I encouraged students, advocates for the poor, and global leaders to keep the dialogue alive about the value of development aid and the 1.4 billion people still living in extreme poverty.
Two days for 60 minutes
Talking to 60 Minutes
I just watched Charlie Rose’s story on 60 Minutes about the work Melinda and I are doing. I’ve spoken with Charlie several times over the years and am always impressed by how well-prepared and thoughtful he is.
Robots, chairs, and water
A Day at DEKA Research with Dean Kamen
Toward the end of last year, I got to travel to Manchester, New Hampshire, to visit one of America’s most prolific and successful inventors, Dean Kamen.
A river runs through it
An Amazing Amazon Adventure
On a vacation earlier this year, my family and I explored the magical Amazon Basin, where we climbed trees in the rainforest and swam with freshwater dolphins.
Introducing My TED 2011 Line Up
The TED conferences feature talks by some of the world’s most innovative thinkers and creative, influential change makers. I returned to TED both as a speaker and as the curator of a session with four speakers devoted to revolutionary change through knowledge and innovation.
Beach bag books
Great Summer Reading
Summer is a great time for me to get in some additional time for reading. Here are a few books I’ve read recently, and a short list of some books I’m looking forward to reading this summer.
Inventing the Myhrvold Way
Nathan Myhrvold worked with me at Microsoft and went on to start Intellectual Ventures, which is inventing and investing in diverse fields including software, semiconductors, lasers, biotechnology, and medical devices.
A diamante poem
Light Verse from Rory
On a family trip to Europe last year, Melinda and I spent time tutoring our children on a number of different subjects. Our son Rory recently combined some of his science learning with poetry.
Cuisine as You've Never Seen Before
Nathan Myhrvold’s 'Modernist Cuisine' is a visual feast that includes 3,200 photos, many of them cutaway shots that involved actually cutting cooking surfaces in half. Here’s a small sampling of the book’s fantastic visualizations of the cooking process.
Your books and mine
More Great Summer Reading
I’ve always been a big reader, and love spreading the word about great books that approach interesting topics in new ways.
Nathan Myhrvold: Recommended Reading
Here’s a list of books recommended by Nathan Myhrvold, who was Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer, and now follows a wide variety of interests. He's one of the founders of Intellectual Ventures.
For my dad
On Father's Day
This week, my father got a lifetime achievement award from the University of Washington. With Father’s Day coming up, this seemed like a good chance to talk a bit about my dad.
Five Questions from the Twitterverse
Last week, I did an onstage Q and A with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey at the annual investors summit hosted by Vinod Khosla. Jack also solicited questions from the Twitterverse. Here are my thoughts on a few of the questions from his followers.
Geeks are cool
Science & Leadership in Philly
Science Leadership Academy is an innovative public high school in Philadelphia with a focus on science, technology, mathematics and entrepreneurship. When I met with students at the school on April 29, principal Chris Lehmann thanked me “for making being a geek cool.”
What's in the bag?
My Summer Reading List
Last year I shared my summer reading list, and I thought I’d do it again this year. Here are a few of the books I’m planning to read, along with one recommendation of a book I’ve already finished.
Talking Polio, Education at TED
The TED Conference is known for highly stimulating talks by trailblazing thinkers (and doers) from around the world. They asked me to plan a session for this year’s conference, so I'm calling on speakers who will shed light on two of my favorite topics: eradicating polio and transforming educat...
What, no romance?
Vaclav Smil: Recommended Reading
Here’s a list of books recommended by Vaclav Smil, who does interdisciplinary research in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk assessment, and public policy. He is the author of several books I've read and reviewed.
Roundtable at Davos
Young People Will Change the World
At the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, I participated in a roundtable discussion on Opportunity for Youth. It's a subject I'm passionate about, because solving the world's big problems will require energy and creativity of people of all ages, and from future generations.
Tweets from Stanford
Answers about Africa
I spoke at Stanford University recently about our work on health and agriculture in Africa. The students asked a lot of great questions during my talk. Here are answers to a few additional questions that were tweeted to me at #askbillg.
UNGA 2013: Day One
Farmers, MDGs, Bill Clinton, and More
My Monday afternoon during U.N. Week focused on development and innovation – in a couple of very different contexts. I started out with a chance to catch up with Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and now serving as Chairman of AGRA, an organization our foundation does a...
Innovation with Impact: Financing 21st Century Development
In a report presented to world leaders at the G20 summit in Cannes, France, I outlined recommendations to encourage innovation and new partnerships that increase the value and delivery of development aid. Read the report and download a copy.
The people I met
Photos from My Trip to Ethiopia and Zambia
On my recent trip to Ethiopia and Zambia, I met with health workers, families, and farmers, and learned about the progress they are making in meeting healthcare and agricultural challenges.
The Mood at Davos
I've been attending the World Economic Forum at Davos since the 1990s. This year, the focus was on climate change and on issues raised by the aftermath of the economic crisis, including questions about who should profit from investment and financial risk.
Less disease. No $#%@
Reflections on the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge
I’m excited about the new toilet prototypes, which could help reduce disease for the 40 percent of the world’s population that doesn't have access to toilets. It’s a terrific example of innovation’s ability to dramatically improve people’s lives.
Light up your brain
Great Books on Science and Innovation
I believe that science and innovation are the keys to solving many of the world's biggest problems. Here are thirteen books on science and innovation that have influenced my thinking.
In the slums of Mumbai
Q&A with Katherine Boo, Author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers
With its detailed depiction of life in one of Mumbai’s urban slums, 'Behind the Beautiful Forevers' is one of those books that makes you wonder about the story behind the story. So I asked author Katherine Boo if she would answer a few questions.
Conversations in Abu Dhabi
The Majlis Lectures
While in Abu Dhabi this week, I took part in a Majlis, a wide-ranging dialogue about global issues hosted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
What's in the course?
Big History Content Samples
Big History content includes video lectures, infographics, animations, texts and even comic books. Here are some samples from the course.
Starting with a bang
Big History Course Structure
The Big History course is broken down into two parts across ten teaching units. Each unit includes between 30-50 a la carte pieces of content that work together to achieve specific learning objectives and concepts.
Big History course
Bringing It All Together!
David Christian, professor of Big History, talks about the origins of the program and how it differs from any other history course.
Why MIT Matters
MIT has played a central role in stimulating many of the amazing advancements that science and technology have achieved since the university was founded 150 years ago. In an essay for the Boston Globe, I discuss MIT's great legacy and promise for the future.
Shame is Not the Solution
In a New York Times op-ed, I respond to the New York State Court of Appeals ruling that teachers' individual performance assessments could be made public.
Going Back to College(s)
At Microsoft, I periodically visited college campuses to talk with students about applying science and technology to drive new waves of innovation.
Harvard at 375
A Yardstick of Service
Although I left Harvard after my freshman year to co-found Microsoft, I've been back to the Cambridge campus many times since to talk with students and faculty. On the 375th anniversary of Harvard’s founding, I was invited to share my thoughts on the university’s past and future.
Exchange of ideas
Discussing Big Challenges with Students
Watch webcasts of my meetings with students at Harvard and Berkeley, where we had lively discussions about how to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
give kids an equal chance
Speaking Up for the Common Core
I went to D.C. to spotlight two issues: America’s commitment to improve outcomes for students in U.S. schools.
Challenging Student Designers to Create New Kinds of Vehicles
EcoMotors Design Challenge asked students to design concept cars that take advantage of the EcoMotors engine. The jury for the challenge included former General Motors and Chrysler design chiefs, and auto collector Jay Leno.
Little engine that can
EcoMotors: Reinventing the Internal Combustion Engine
Over the last 100 years, the internal combustion engine has transformed almost every aspect of how people work and live. Now, a small company called EcoMotors is proposing a radical overhaul for this century-old workhorse.
What scientists know
Recommended Reading on Climate Change
I recommend this report on climate change science and policy from The Economist, which reinforces my belief in the need for new, zero-carbon technologies.
Steps the U.S. must take
Catalyzing American Ingenuity
Everyone should have access to clean, affordable energy but without investments in research and development it will be impossible to achieve that goal.
Daniel Yergin Replies to My Review of His Book, "The Quest"
Daniel Yergin is one of my favorite writers and his book, The Quest, is a significant contribution to the conversation about the various forces shaping our energy future. I appreciate that he took the time to comment on my review of his book.
A market for energy
Why Not Focus on Global Warming?
Here are my thoughts on climate change, both as an issue for the world’s poor and an innovation challenge for the marketplace.
Goals for 2050
Why We Need Innovation, Not Just Insulation
Conservation and behavior change alone will not get us to the dramatically lower levels of CO2 emissions needed to make a real difference. We also need to focus on developing innovative technologies that produce energy without generating any CO2 emissions at all.
World energy crisis
At the WIRED Conference
Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of WIRED moderated a Q and A with me as part of the opening session of the third annual WIRED Business Conference.
Exciting News for HIV Prevention
I believe that one important way to stop the spread of AIDS is by empowering women to protect themselves from infection. I'm encouraged that new research shows positive results from women using antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS prevention.
On the right track
A Great Meeting on Polio with Afghanistan Officials
Afghanistan faces real challenges in stopping polio. But after meeting with Afghani political and health leaders in Abu Dhabi, I’m optimistic they’re on the right track and that we will see a polio-free Afghanistan.
Day 1 at the UN: Good Friends from Around the World
For me, Wednesday afternoon at the UN General Assembly was a great chance to catch up with some of our allies from all over who are working on the frontlines of global health and development.
My #1 Priority
Day 2 at the UN: Uniting against Polio
Polio has almost been eradicated from the face of the Earth – but not quite, not yet. In New York on Thursday, heads of state and other world leaders came together to recommit to finally closing the door on this disease. It was very inspiring.
Photos from my trip
Snapshots of UN Week
View photos from my trip to New York for a special UN session on eradicating polio. I had a chance to meet with some of our partners in this fight - from Barcelona footballers to the President of Afghanistan.
A difficult job worth doing
A Commitment to Global Health
I'm celebrating the progress made in global health and calling on the World Health Assembly to support vaccines for all children.
Health affects minds
A Disturbing Link: Disease and Intelligence
For me personally and for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, improving global health is a way to fight poverty as well as to save lives. The role of health in social and economic development is highlighted by new research on infectious disease and IQ.
Life in Lucknow
Day One in India, May 2012
I’m in India this week, and my first stop is in the state of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.). In U.P.’s capital, Lucknow, I’m meeting with people from just about the two most opposite ends of the social spectrum.
partners in progress
New Generation of Gulf Leaders in the Fight Against Global Poverty and Disease
Young leaders in the Gulf region are taking advantage of the region’s rising prosperity, its unique insights and technical savvy, and combining them with a long tradition of charity to make unique contributions to the global fight against poverty and disease. That was my message in a speech at...
Seeing Ghana’s Health Care System in Action
During my visit, I was very impressed by the information tracking in Ghana’s health care system. It’s enabling health care workers to closely measure their progress in delivering immunizations and other patient services. And it’s helping Ghana make progress toward the Millennium Development Goa...
Travels in India
Seeing Self-Help in Action in India
I was on the road again in May 2010 on a visit to northern India. I came back excited by the progress I saw in villages that have suffered from dire poverty and the persistence of polio.
Entertaining, well-written, and full of surprises and insights, 'SuperFreakonomics' is Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s follow up to 'Freakonomics'.
Why America is Not a New Rome
Although the U.S. has faced significant challenges in recent decades, Vaclav Smil points out in a new book why comparisons with the decline of the Roman Empire fall short.
Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
The 1972 findings of these three MIT scientists was a pretty unsettling look at the risk of 'overshoot' – overconsumption of the planet's available resources. This update offers some encouragement.
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World
Recently I finished reading Daniel Yergin’s new book, 'The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World'. It’s a valuable guide to the complex factors shaping the world’s energy needs, supplies and prices – even if a workout at over 800 pages.
Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think
The authors take the view that we will become able to meet and exceed the needs of every person in the world, through technology, innovation, and philanthropy. Of course, I found this very interesting.
For the Love of Physics
Among the animating forces my life are my love of learning, fascination with science and technology, and admiration for great teachers. All three come together in 'For the Love of Physics', a book I highly recommend, by Walter Lewin of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Giant Molecules: From Nylon to Nanotubes
This is a really fascinating look at molecules, and how we might use them in space and in our bodies if we use biomimetics to simulate the ways nature uses them.
Physics for Dummies
Here's another book you can read to get a good, basic understanding of physics. No prior knowledge needed!
Ask Me Anything
View the questions and answers from Bill's first-ever Reddit Ask Me Anything.
global health hero
A Visit to Haiti, and the Biggest Hellraiser I Know
Last month, Melinda and I took the kids on a vacation during their mid-winter break—and managed to get in a quick visit to Haiti, where we caught up with one of the heroes of global health, Paul Farmer.
Black Tie at Bambi
A Packed 36 Hours in Berlin
I spent two days in Berlin this week. My visit brought me into contact with artists and activists, politicians, scientists, actors, and even rock stars. Not bad for 36 hours.