According to Hubbert peak theory
, peak oil
is the date when the peak of the world's production of conventional petroleum
(crude oil) is reached. After this date the rate of production is forecast to enter terminal decline, following the bell-shaped curve
predicted by the theory. Due to the world's high dependence on inexpensive oil
, it is thought that severe price increases
may result, with serious implications for the global economy
Acceptance of peak oil is far from universal, and the only reliable way to identify its existence will be in retrospect. One alternative scenario is that global production will eventually follow an 'undulating plateau' for one or more decades before declining slowly.
Having accurately predicted the date of peak production in the US petroleum industry, which occurred in 1970, M. King Hubbert, who devised the theory, forecast that the world peak would occur in 1995 'if current trends continue'. Various subsequent predictions have been made as trends have fluctuated in the intervening years. Two milestones have passed, however. The peak of world oilfield discoveries occurred in 1965 and, due world population growth, production per capita peaked in 1979.
The effects of peak oil could be mitigated through conservation and switching to alternative fuels or unconventional oil sources. Such changes would bring their own challenges, ranging from the need to development alternative technologies to potential increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
(September 29, 1901 – November 28, 1954) was an Italian
physicist most noted for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor
, and for the development of quantum theory
. Fermi won the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics
for his work on induced radioactivity.
Fermi was well-known for his simplicity in solving problems. Whenever possible, he avoided complicated mathematics and obtained quick results based on order of magnitude estimates. Fermi also meticulously recorded his calculations in notebooks, and later used to solve many new problems that he encountered based on these earlier known problems.
After accepting the 1938 Nobel Prize in Stockholm, Fermi immigrated to New York with his family to escape the anti-Semitic laws of Fascist Italy, as his wife Laura was Jewish.
After working at Columbia University, Fermi went to the University of Chicago and began studies that led to the construction of the world's first nuclear reactor Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1). The first artificial, self-sustaining, nuclear chain reaction was initiated within CP-1, on December 2, 1942.