Michael Webber is the Deputy Director of the Energy Institute, Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, where he trains a new generation of energy leaders through research and education at the intersection of engineering, policy, and commercialization. He has authored more than 200 scientific articles, columns, books, and book chapters, including an op-ed in the New York Times and features in Scientific American. A highly sought public speaker, he has given more than 175 lectures, speeches, and invited talks in the last few years, such as testimony for hearings of U.S. Senate committees, keynotes for business meetings, plenary lectures for scientific conferences, invited speeches at the United Nations and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and executive briefings at some of the nation's leading companies.
As a professor, Dr. Webber has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UT Austin since 2007 across departments as diverse as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, liberal arts, business, geosciences, public affairs, and undergraduate studies. His teaching has been honored three separate times with major awards from the University of Texas System. Dr. Webber's research focuses on the convergence of policy, technology, and resource management related to energy and the environment. Government agencies such as the Department of Energy and non-governmental organizations such as UNESCO have featured Dr. Webber's research in their policy-making decisions. His expertise, opinions, and research have been published, cited or featured in many media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, NPR, PBS, The Daily Telegraph, BBC, ABC, CBS, Discovery, Popular Mechanics, New Scientist, MSNBC, and the History Channel,.
Since launching in March 2013, his syndicated television special, Energy at the Movies, has been telecast more than 140 times on more than 90 PBS stations in 26 states and the District of Columbia as of January 2014. The special bridges the gap between academic discourse and popular culture by synthesizing expert analysis of Hollywood films into digestible lessons on the science and history of energy. Energy at the Movies reaches over 43 million households in the United States, with a follow up series in development.
His capstone class "Energy Technology and Policy" was distributed as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled "Energy 101." The course launched in Fall 2013 through a partnership with edX. More than 5000 students signed up for the course during the first three days of its registration period, and within four months 44,000 students from over 170 countries around the world were registered. The global scope of the Energy 101 MOOC fits in with Webber's motto of changing the way the world thinks about energy. Energy 101's completion rate soared above 65% making it one of the most successful 10-week MOOCs of all time. He has also offered the course as part of executive education programs in Austin, Houston, Washington DC, and in Durham, North Carolina.
Dr. Webber received his BA with High Honors in Plan II Liberal Arts and his BS with High Honors in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He then received both a MS and a PHD in mechanical engineering from Stanford University where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He then served as a senior scientist at Pranalytica, where he invented sensors for homeland security, industrial analysis, and environmental monitoring. He holds four patents as a result of his research. He then transitioned to the RAND Corporation studying energy, innovation, manufacturing, and national security. Dr. Webber is one of the originators of Pecan Street Incorporated, a public- private partnership in Austin, Texas, running the nation's largest smart grid experiment.