How do we grow the global supply of energy, make it more accessible to the poor, and at the same time cut carbon emissions to near zero? And how can physics contribute? During the past quarter century, physics has had its strongest industrial impact at the intersection of solid-state physics and information technology. Following Moore’s law, computation has made fast progress. Many IT firms spend more than 10% of their gross income on R&D and can move innovations from the laboratory to the marketplace in just a few years. And even though planar transistors are approaching quantum limits, those limits are still quite a way out, and we are just beginning to exploit the third dimension. As Richard Feynman noted, “there’s plenty of room at the bottom.”


Keith, David. "Reshaping the Energy Landscape." Review of Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century, by Burton Richter. Physics Today, 64.1, January 2011: 56.