Art Rosenfeld, a member of the California Energy Commission, didn't go to many sessions at this year's AAAS conference, but his vision seemed to be everywhere in the meeting's focus on efficiency. During a plenary talk a few nights ago, Berkeley Lab director Steven Chu mentioned Rosenfeld's work, even interrupting himself to say, "Hi Art," cheerfully upon seeing the senior citizen in the audience. (After the talk, the crowd mobbed the stage to pose for photos, including one local undergraduate who had asked Chu for a job over the microphone during the question session: "I hope you need an ecologist.")
Rosenfeld, spry as ever, followed AAAS then-president John Holdren as the pair raced through the exiting throng. They changed quickly into tuxedos and zoomed up to the Fairmont Hotel, where they hobnobbed with the black-tied scientific glitterati. It was a mix of business and pleasure for Rosenfeld, who's considered a kind of energy Yoda for local residents.
Social worker Barbara Budnitz, for one, wanted advice on whether the Berkeley, California, senior center on whose board she serves should install solar panels. "They're all former red-diaper babies," she joked. "I'm a big fan of solar energy," Rosenfeld answered. "For middle class families and for young people. But for seniors--not worth it." He went on to explain to a few party-goers, beaming, how California regulations encourage developers to first ensure that buildings are energy-efficient before installing solar panels.