Public Lecture
Public Lecture information
TRIUMF and the APS-DNP 2016 Fall Meeting will co-host a Public Lecture on Friday October 14, where you will have the opportunity to discover novel perspectives on innovation with Distinguished Professor Emeritus Vaclav Smil from the University of Manitoba.  A prolific author and scientist, in 2010 Foreign Policy magazine named Prof. Smil to its list of FP Top 100 Global Thinkers.  Join us in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Wall Centre, where Prof. Smil will draw from his extensive background to discuss: 

Moore’s Curse and Accelerating Innovation Realities and Fundamental Limits

Be sure to come early to connect with peers as well as members of the Vancouver public at a special poster session featuring highlighted research by undergraduates attending the APS-DNP 2016 Fall Meeting.  

Tickets are FREE for registered participants of DNP2016 and will be distributed on site during registration.  

Event Information:
Sheraton Wall Centre, Grand Ballroom
1088 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2R9

6PM – Undergraduate student poster session with members of the Vancouver public
7PM – Public talk featuring Vaclav Smil

For more information please visit  
Please note: registration link is for general public only, not DNP delegates

For all other questions, email 

We hope to see you on October 14!

Moore’s Curse and Accelerating Innovation

Realities and Fundamental Limits


Vaclav Smil

In 1965, when the early integrated circuits contained just 50 transistors, Gordon Moore predicted that their density will be doubling every 12 months, and ten years later he lengthened the doubling period to two years. The law has endured for five decades and its durability has helped to create a widely accepted notion of accelerating innovation: as Kurzweil put it, “because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress.” Moore’s law has been a most welcome manifestation of Richard Feynman’s famous dictum that there is plenty of room at the bottom –- but the process it quantifies has been a remarkable exception.

Only a few other innovations have come close but none of the many other technical and scientific advances that have shaped the modern world –- ranging from energy conversions and critical industrial processes to transportation techniques, crop cultivation and improvements in health care and life expectancy -- has been governed by rapid doublings of performances. More importantly, physical realities mean that for many basic energy conversions there have been either no, or only marginal, long-term gains and that even a single future performance doubling is impossible. Accelerating pace of innovation has not been the norm in creating the fundamentals of modern civilization, and it will not be the norm in extending its benefits to billions of people who lives still remain largely in pre-industrial age.


Vaclav Smil does interdisciplinary research, primarily in the fields of energy, environmental change, technical innovation and risk assessment. He has published 40 books and nearly 500 papers on these topics. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Science Academy). In 2010 he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the top 100 global thinkers, in 2013 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada and in 2015 he received the OPEC Award for Research.