UMass Dartmouth Mechanical Engineering Professor Peter Friedman will spend 2011 on Capitol Hill working on national energy policy issues under a congressional fellowship awarded by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Dr. Friedman said he wants to use his time in Washington to make a contribution to "a rational science-based energy policy that not only addresses the near-term shortages, but also moves toward long-term sustainability...Although until now we have managed to maintain a sufficient energy supply, going forward without a rational science-based energy policy will likely lead to diminishing supplies, worsening trade imbalances, a dangerous dependence on unstable governments, detrimental environmental impacts and adverse geopolitical factors."
Since 1973, ASME has sponsored the Congressional Fellowship program to provide an opportunity for Society members to work with the U.S. Congress. As federal legislation becomes increasingly technical, the need for engineering expertise is essential. Congressional fellows participate directly in the lawmaking process and learn how the federal government operates. In addition, Congress is provided with the necessary engineering expertise and, at the end of the fellowship year, a fellow's employer, in this case UMass Dartmouth, has an engineer with in-depth knowledge of congressional decision-making processes.
National policy related to nuclear power is among Dr. Friedman's specific interests. "Nuclear power has been stagnated as the result of environmental and safety concerns and a political failure to resolve the nuclear waste issue despite clear statistical evidence that it is extremely safe in comparison with other energy generation sources and its clear environmental advantages," he said.
Dr. Friedman has served as Principal Investigator on grants totaling more than $500,000 and as a Co-PI on several additional grants. During a Navy career that included service on submarines, Dr. Friedman was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals and two Navy Achievement Medals.
He said the fellowship is "a distinct honor and an invaluable educational opportunity" that will advance the educational and research activities.