A National Medal of Technology recipient in 2003, Mead is celebrating his 80th birthday on May 1, 2014. He remains as passionate today about science and engineering as he ever was ("There isn't really a time when you're too old to have new ideas," he says).
In addition to his individual research interests in photovoltaic cell development, Atwater is also part of a collaborative effort to advance solar energy research at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP).
"Our group is interested in the chemical transformations that are relevant to feeding and fueling the planet. There are two efforts on this campus in artificial photosynthesis, and I participate in both."
"I work on a broad range of topics, but basically I like studying how big things form. I study how galaxies form, how stars form, and how supermassive black holes form. Recently, I started studying how planets form"