Ellen Williams works at the interface of energy technology and policy in the context of mitigating climate change. She established an internationally recognized research program in experimental surface science, exploring fundamental issues in statistical mechanics and nanotechnology. She founded and led the University’s interdisciplinary Materials Research Science and Engineering Center from 1996 through 2009. Most recently she has worked with colleagues in the College of Engineering and the School of Public Policy to advocate for the impacts of university research and role-model behavior in advancing the use of clean energy.
She also has served as the Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPA-E, which advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment, and as Chief Scientist at BP. She has a distinguished history of professional service, including chairing the development of the NAS report on Technical Issues for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and extensive work in providing technical advice to the U.S. government related to national security.