Quick Facts: 

The Carnot Prize is named in memory of French scientist Sadi Carnot, who in 1824 published Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, which became the basis for the second law of thermodynamics. The Carnot Prize is intended to honor those who have revolutionized our understanding of energy policy.

On November 17, 2016, Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy awarded the coveted Carnot Prize to Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). While Birol’s contributions to a sustainable future are themselves remarkable, his dedication to ensuring “a place at the table” for all, regardless of race, gender, or nationality set him apart from a competitive field this year. “Fatih Birol is revolutionary in his impact,” said Mark Alan Hughes, faculty director of the Kleinman Center. “He is modernizing the IEA in a way that allows it to take on the challenges of the great energy transition of this century with particular attention to questions of equity and inclusion, and why all of this matters.”

True to form, Birol announced during the award presentation that he would donate the prize money to the IEA’s efforts to increase gender diversity within its own organization and beyond. “This is a great honor for me, for my family, and for the entire International Energy Agency,” he said.

In conjunction with the award, President Amy Gutmann announced a new graduate student fellowship program at IEA headquarters in Paris, named in honor of Birol, which will provide new opportunities for a rising generation of Penn-educated leaders.

The Carnot Prize honors those who have revolutionized the world’s understanding of energy policy through scholarship or practice. The Kleinman Center was made possible by a lead gift from Scott Kleinman, C’94, W’94, and his wife, Wendy. Its tripartite mission is to provide a home for energy policy education on campus, to raise the visibility and impact of energy policy work off-campus, and to create conditions for improved energy policy outcomes throughout the world.

To learn more about the Kleinman Center and this year’s Carnot Prize, click here.