Gretchen Bakke, cultural anthropologist and author of “The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future,” will keynote the Iowa Ideas Energy & Environment track. Bakke’s address is set to take place on Sept. 22 at 1:30 p.m.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Bakke now resides in Montreal where she focuses her work on the chaos and creativity that emerges during social, cultural and technological transitions. Her research and work over the past decade has focused on the changing culture of electricity in the United States. Bakke has a particular interest in learning what people do when systems they depend on aren’t working.
In her book, “The Grid,” Bakke shows how the electrical grid – an engineering triumph of the 20th century -- is now a poor fit for current needs and emerging energy sources. Bakke will discuss the grid’s history, present challenges and ideas for how it can play a role in a cleaner energy future. She’ll also talk about the collaborations needed to pull off the improvements.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates named the book one of his five best reads of 2016.
Bakke is a former fellow in Wesleyan University’s Science in Society Program, a former Fulbright fellow, and is currently an assistant professor of anthropology at McGill University.
The Iowa Ideas Conference, Sept. 20-22, will include 80 sessions and more than 250 speakers across eight tracks. The statewide gathering will mix panel discussions, interviews with state leaders and thought-provoking experiences to help move complex issues forward. Iowa Ideas is for anyone: doers, industry leaders, policy makers, lifelong learners and those who want to lead the conversation about the future of our state.
Other topics planned in the Energy & Environment track include discussions about climate change, environmental impacts on health, renewable fuels and many more.
Iowa Ideas 2017 will kick off Wednesday, Sept. 20, with an opening celebration and keynote address from best-selling author and innovation expert Alec Ross.