Vaclav Smil

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba

Vaclav Smil was born in Plzen in 1943, left Czechoslovakia for the USA in 1969 and has worked in Canada since 1972. He has been always an interdisciplinary scientist, exploring new ground in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, technical innovation, food production and nutrition, risk assessment, and public policy.


He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. As of 2016 he has published nearly 500 papers and essays in more than 100 periodicals and is the author of 39 books ranging from analyses of global energy to Japanese diets, and from the pioneering studies of China’s environment to histories of 19th and 20th century technical advances. The latest published volumes are Power Density: A Key to Understanding Energy Sources and Uses (2015), Natural Gas: Fuel for the 21st Century (2015) and Still the Iron Age: Iron and Steel in the Modern World (2016); Energy in World History and Energy Transitions will be coming out in late 2016.

His books have been widely reviewed in leading scientific and engineering journals, and Bill Gates has been recommending his work for years, writing that “there is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil,” and stating that his work has “opened my eyes to new ways to think about solving our energy and environmental issues.”

In addition to his published research Vaclav has also worked as a consultant for many US, EU, and international institutions, has been an invited speaker in more than 400 conferences and workshops in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and has lectured at many universities in North America, Europe, and East Asia. He was the first non-American to receive the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Science Academy), in 2010 he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers, and in 2013 he was appointed to the Order of Canada.

Information about his publications is available at his website