President Vailas, seventh from left, participates in the ground-
breaking ceremony for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies
Image Credit: ISU Photographic Services

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From the President

Energy Solutions: Today's Challenge

Energy is the most critical issue we will address in the 21st century. It has the potential to improve or destroy everything on this planet. What we eat, how we travel, what we wear, how we communicate, how we treat health care – all are part of the complex nexus of life on Earth that is driven by questions of energy.

All of our great achievements require a stable source of energy, and this means more than just sustainability. Certainly, we need to sustain what we have. But without increased production, conservation and storage, the wheels of progress will grind to a halt.

Idaho State University stands at the center of what could be one of the greatest environments for leadership in energy research in the world. In a state devoid of much fossil fuels, our current energy source of choice, it is both a challenge and an opportunity for us to show true innovation in advancing alternative energy.

Our great track record in nuclear science and engineering is just the beginning. Our collaboration with other universities, private industry and Idaho National Laboratory is critical to this success. The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) has already won the support of leaders whose vision includes energy independence and security in the coming times. The recent establishment of the Energy Systems Technology and Education Center in our College of Technology offers similar collaboration in a industrial vein. Research at the Idaho Accelerator Center on ISU's campus offers potential energy solutions, too. Partnerships with private industry are also abundant in the areas that will make a difference as we confront the energy question.

Our opportunities to address the energy crisis are countless. Combine the question with any of the disciplines in which ISU excels – health professions, engineering, business, technology, to name a few – and there are important energy questions to resolve.

Take a look around us. We have the national laboratory designated to lead the search for nuclear energy research, development and demonstration in our backyard.

In our region we have massive enterprises, both public and private, exploring and producing wind and solar power. Hydroelectric power from our waterways powers our cities and much of the West. Our state capitol complex draws power from geothermal sources, and we have similar forces at work in eastern Idaho as well. The potential for biomass in the Magic Valley offers promise, too.

For forward-thinking students eager to solve the challenges of their generation, Idaho State University is the place to be. They are coming here from diverse countries and culture, and that meeting of inquisitive minds will produce the solutions.

Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University