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Home / Impact / Sustainability / Newsom attends groundbreaking of new sustainability center at Caltech

Newsom attends groundbreaking of new sustainability center at Caltech

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At a groundbreaking in Pasadena, Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday applauded Caltech’s new Resnick Sustainability Institute by quoting the Grateful Dead’s late leader Jerry Garcia.

The center aims to bring together scientists and engineers to pursue research in solar science, climate science, energy, biofuels and other environmental studies.

In his remarks, Newsom — noting that he was “the only politician in the world” who could get away with such a reference — recalled a comment from Garcia.

“He had a wonderful quote that, as I’m sitting here, I reflected on: He said that you don’t want to be the best of the best; you want to be the only one that does what you do,” Newsom said.

“And I think about that statement in the context of where we are at Caltech,” the governor continued. “No one does what you do. You are not the `best of the best’ — you reinvented the space.”

The center — expected to open in fall 2024 — was made possible by a $750 million pledge from billionaire philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick to Caltech in 2019, according to the Pasadena institute.

Experts from across Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory — which Caltech manages for NASA — will seek solutions to the most pressing environmental challenges in a world confronting rapid climate change, Caltech said.

According to Caltech, the future Resnick Sustainability Center will provide equipment, space and resources divided among several research centers that support the core initiatives of RSI; house a science and engineering facility that will provide enough space to scale up and test early-stage technologies for potential translational impact and a solar roof, where photovoltaic devices can be tested under real-world conditions; and act as home to all of Caltech’s undergraduate chemistry labs.

Along with Newsom, attendees at the groundbreaking included Stewart Resnick, Caltech President Thomas Rosenbaum, Caltech Provost David Tirrell and Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo.

“California has more scientists, more researchers, more Nobel laureates, venture capital, patents, than any place on the globe,” Newsom said. “This is a remarkable place — this conveyor belt for talent. Caltech is a dominant part of that. So thank you, all of you, for being part not just of this moment but all the moments that created the institution.”

The new center is expected to also provide faculty and students across campus with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and technologies to advance environmental solutions, according to Caltech.

“Caltech is exploring new avenues in sustainability research and education that we couldn’t imagine a few years ago” Tirrell said. “The Resnick Sustainability Center will be a magnet for scientists and engineers — including students who will be the scientists and engineers of the future — who want to solve some of the planet’s most pressing problems.”

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