Skip navigation

Engaging Ideas

Information + Technology + Energy

The intertwined elements of the global computing revolution

This Engaging Idea explores how information, technology and energy are related in the world of computing and what it means for the future.


Photo of Barry Zink

Prof. Barry L. Zink leads a research group at the University of Denver focusing on measurements of heat, charge, and spin transport in thin films and nanostructures. These measurements are often enabled by micro- and nanomachined thermal isolation platforms that use free-standing silicon-nitride membranes.

Barry completed his PhD at UC San Diego in 2002, and has earned honors including the Piercy Distinguished Visiting Professorship (U. Minnesota), the NSM Outstanding Research Award, the NSF CAREER award, and the National Research Council (NRC) Post-doc.

Current projects he and his team of undergraduate and graduate researchers are exploring range from developing new materials for small-scale cooling and energy conversion to understanding how spin travels in disordered magnetic systems. In over a decade at DU he has mentored a dozen graduate and postdoctoral researchers and many talented undergraduates.

Zink group alumni have gone on to industry (Intel, Avago Technologies, Lam Research), national labs (NIST, NREL), and academia. His group's research has to date been supported by the National Science Foundation (DMR and EECS), the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative, the Petroleum Research Fund, and others. 

for more on the subject

Questions for personal reflection or group discussion

  1. How many times in a typical day do you access data on the internet?
  2. Where does the energy to run your computers and phones come from?
  3. Does the amount we pay for power reflect the real costs of our choices?
  4. What is the research that enables future technologies worth? Who benefits from it? Who should pay for it?

We want to hear from you! We appreciate your comments and your perspective about the ideas video. Please click on the button below to submit your comments.

Submit Comments