Congratulations to Nicholas Witham on his 1st place win at the Wilkes Climate Summit!

One year ago, the Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy’s founders pledged to bring together students and researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurs to find solutions to combat the cascading impacts of climate change.

On May 16 and 17, the center’s inaugural climate summit at the University of Utah did just that—convening scientists, inventors, business and government leaders in a collective effort to explore the best solutions for a warming planet.

“Our goals are to build bridges, think broadly, spark innovation, and find ways to accelerate climate solutions,” said William Anderegg, director of the Wilkes Center.

Discussion and presentations at the two-day climate summit ranged from the wonders of cultivating perennial, protein-rich Baki beans and planting restorative Inga trees in decimated tropical rainforest clear-cuts, to the power of the Great Salt Lake’s shrinking shoreline to bridge Utah’s political divides and bring real change to the state’s intransigent water policy debates.


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Nicholas Witham is a 5th year biomedical engineering PhD student at the University of Utah. His specialty is the intersection between mechatronics, electrical instrumentation, and materials science. At the University of Utah, Nick has applied textile engineering methods to enable large scale manufacturing of inexpensive thermomotive polymer actuators. This actuator research has since diverged into biomimetic control for prosthetic limbs and renewable energy generators based on diurnal temperature fluctuations. He plans to continue his work through post-doctoral research and his award-winning prosthetic startup, Gaia Technologies.