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Molly Grear makes Forbes '30 under 30 in Energy' list

November 14, 2017

       Ph.D. student Molly Grear

Ph.D. student Molly Grear’s list of things to achieve before the age of 30 just got shorter. Grear is one of two UW students named to Forbes magazine’s list of the top 30 people under the age of 30 who are working on energy initiatives with the goal of creating a more sustainable future.

In its annual list, the magazine profiles “a group of upstarts, judged by our sources and judges, to be among the most promising individuals working across the broad field of anything even tangentially ‘energy’ related.”

“I was surprised, as I thought the list was only for start-up companies and entrepreneurs,” Grear said. “It's exciting to see that academic research is viewed as innovative and creative, too.”

Grear, 28, was named to the list for her research on creating marine renewable energy devices that do not harm marine mammals. While marine renewable energy is becoming increasingly popular as a resource to combat climate change, the impact on marine wildlife is unknown. Grear is therefore researching how marine mammals, such as killer whales in the Puget Sound, may be impacted by the spinning blades of tidal turbines, which look like underwater wind turbines. Her research entails characterizing the material properties of marine mammal skin and blubber using the same methods used to study the material properties of steel and concrete. She then uses this data to create a finite element analysis of a turbine blade striking an animal.

Last May, Grear won the first place prize at UW’s first Three Minute Thesis Competition.

Learn more about her research at the video below:

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