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2024 Keynote Speakers - William D. Nix Lecture

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2022 Inaugural Keynote Speaker

Professor Stanley M. Whittingham

Stephen Chu

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor and Professor of Physics, 
School of Humanities and Sciences Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, 
School of Medicine Professor of Energy Science and Engineering, 
Doerr School of Sustainability Stanford University 

Steven Chu, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor at Stanford, holds appointments in the departments of Physics, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, and Energy Science and Engineering. He received an AB degree in mathematics and a BS degree in physics from the University of Rochester, and a PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Berkeley, he was at Bell Labs as a member of the technical staff in 1978 and then department head in 1983.

From January 2009 to April, 2013, Dr. Chu served as U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama. During his tenure, he began several initiatives, including ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy), the Energy Innovation Hubs, and the Clean Energy Ministerial meetings. As the first scientist Cabinet member, Dr. Chu recruited dozens of outstanding scientists and engineers to the Department of Energy, and was personally tasked by President Obama to help stop the BP oil leak.

From 2004 to 2009, he was the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and professor of physics and of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to those positions, he was the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University. During this time, he helped start Bio-X, a multi-disciplinary initiative combining the physical and biological sciences with engineering and medicine.

His contributions include the introduction of laser cooling and optical trapping of atoms and particles, atomic fountain clocks and atom interferometers, the optical tweezers of biomolecules, and single molecule FRET of biomolecules tethered to surfaces. His current research is in biophysics, molecular and cellular physiology, medical imaging, nanoparticle synthesis, and battery research. He has received many awards, including the 1997 Nobel Prize for laser cooling and optical trapping of atoms. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Inventors, and a foreign member of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Academia Sinica, the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Walden Rhines

President and CEO, Cornami, Inc. 
Former President and CEO, Mentor Graphics 
Lifetime Fellow, 
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Walden Rhines is widely recognized as an expert in business value creation and technology for the semiconductor and electronic design automation (EDA) industries. 

Dr. Rhines was CEO of Mentor Graphics (a “Big Three” EDA company with $1.3B+ revenue) for 24 years, has served on the boards of five public companies, managed the semiconductor business of Texas Instruments, and is a spokesperson, writer, and highly sought after speaker for the high-tech industry delivering more than 20 keynotes per year. 

Dr. Rhines currently serves as president and CEO of Cornami, Inc., consults for investors, corporations, and the U.S. government on strategic directions, value creation, and technology, and serves on public and private boards. 

Business achievements include major turnarounds, both at Texas Instruments, through his creation and management of the digital signal processing business, and at Mentor, where he managed more than 3X growth in revenue and a 10X increase in enterprise value before acquisition by Siemens AG. 

Dr. Rhines’ technical expertise includes semiconductor design, technical software development, and process engineering and manufacturing, as well as financial modeling of trends and value creation. He has published two books, one focusing on analytical techniques for predicting semiconductor business trends and the other relating little-known events in the evolution of the semiconductor industry. 

He has been deeply involved in global business development including projects in China and India.