Winner of UofL’s first renewable energy prize to speak March 17


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Swiss chemist Michael Graetzel, the winner of the University of Louisville’s first $50,000 Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy, will give a free public lecture at 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 17, at the Rauch Planetarium on the Belknap Campus.

    Graetzel, professor and director of the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, is being recognized for merging nanoscience and photoconversion in his discovery of a new solar cell that is easier and less costly to produce than silicon-based cells.

    These semi-flexible solar cells – known as “Graetzel cells” – convert sunlight into electricity using earth-abundant materials. Mass production of the cells began in 2009.

    Graetzel holds more than 50 patents and has written two books and more than 1,200 publications. His concepts have spawned hundreds of research groups and multiple conferences.

    Graetzel’s public talk will focus on his award-winning work. He will receive the 2013 Conn Prize medal and award during a black-tie ceremony and banquet at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 18, at The Seelbach Hilton Hotel.

    The prize, managed by UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, is named for the late daughter of Hank and Rebecca Conn, who are center supporters and the prize benefactors. The honor recognizes outstanding renewable energy ideas and achievements with proven global impact.

    More information about the Conn Prize can be found at or by contacting Andrew Marsh at 502-852-8597 or