Keynote Schedule

Please note, schedule is tentative and subject to change without notice. Listed below are the keynotes and their biographies. ETCC will make every effort to keep this information updated.

Monday, October 15

Tuesday, October 16

Wednesday, October 17


Bill Nye

Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.

"My family is funny," he says, "I mean funny in the sense that we make people laugh, not just funny looking." Bill discovered that he had a talent for tutoring in high school, and while growing up in Washington, DC. He spent afternoons and summers de-mystifying math for his fellow students. When he wasn't hitting the books, Bill was hitting the road on his bicycle. He spent hours taking it apart to "see how it worked." Bill rode in the unusual Cannonball 300 a few times. It's 300 miles in one day, from Seattle to Spokane, Washington. One year, he finished first unsupported. Now, he commutes by bike in the Los Angeles area. He's down to just five bicycles.

Bill's fascination with how things work led him to Cornell University and a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he headed for Seattle and work as an engineer at Boeing. "There's a hydraulic resonance suppressor "Quinke" tube on the 747 horizontal stabilizer drive system that I like to think of as my tube," he says.

"I've always loved airplanes and flight. The space program was very important to me as a kid. I have a photo from the Apollo 11 mission with the caption, 'Aldrin's visor reflects Armstrong…' Oh yeah, and they're on the Moon!" exclaims Bill. Now, Bill and Buzz Aldrin are pretty well acquainted. "We see each other at space exploration events."

It was in Seattle that Bill began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. "I've never met Mr. Martin, but I'd love to. He created this tension during which the audience had to choose to laugh. So, the laughs were deep and real, like you had to be there– but you were," says Bill. Eventually, Bill quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle's home-grown ensemble comedy show "Almost Live."

This is where "Bill Nye the Science Guy®" was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle's NBC affiliate. With fellow KING-TV alumni Jim McKenna and Erren Gottlieb, Bill made a number of award-winning shows, including the show he became so well known for, "Bill Nye the Science Guy."

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Vijay Vaitheeswaran

Vijay Vaitheeswaran currently covers innovation, health and biotechnology at The Economist. From 1998 to 2006, he covered energy and the environment -- interviewing CEOs, government policy makers, factory workers and consumers. Vaitheeswaran is an expert advisor to the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative on clean energy and innovation, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He teaches at NYU's Stern Business School. His commentaries have appeared on NPR, in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He has also given speeches to groups ranging from the US National Governors' Association and TED to organizations including Google, WWF, and the Aspen Institute.

His book Power to the People: How the Coming Energy Revolution Will Transform an Industry, Change our Lives, and Maybe Even Save the Planet, was called by Harvard's John Holdren, "by far the most helpful, entertaining, up-to-date and accessible treatment of the energy-economy-environment problematique available."

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Michael R. Peevey

Michael R. Peevey was appointed President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) by Governor Gray Davis on December 31, 2002, having been originally appointed to the CPUC by Governor Davis in March 2002. In December 2008 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reappointed Mr. Peevey to the CPUC for another six-year term.

As President of the CPUC, Mr. Peevey is committed to protecting the public interest by promoting consumer needs, while challenging utilities to embrace new technologies and provide safe, high-quality services.

Mr. Peevey is committed to maximizing energy efficiency and demand response opportunities and ensuring that California's environment is protected. He is also a strong supporter of renewable energy and renewable procurement requirements for utilities, and is a leader in implementing California's Solar and Greenhouse Gas Initiatives. He also serves as Chairman of the California Emerging Technology Fund.

Mr. Peevey has made it a priority to work closely with sister agencies, such as the California Department of Water Resources, the Independent System Operator, the California Energy Commission, and the Air Resources Board-- agencies in which the CPUC has overlapping or complementary responsibilities, to assure that California has adequate energy resources and transmission facilities to support its growing population and improving economy.

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